Bradley C. Birkenfeld, the UBS whistle-blower who just received 104 million US dollars from the IRS, must be rather pleased with himself. If you missed the beginning of the story - here is a recap in The New York Time article.
I really believe that whistle-blowing is important, and that people who raise the alarm need to be protected. I am just concerned that the financial reward will create a stampede - which will have nothing to do with right or wrong - but will be based on trying to cash in what the IRS is offering: i.e. up to 30% of the fines or unpaid taxes recovered.
The US has a long tradition with bounty hunters going back to the wild west days. Other cultures less so. In some countries whistle-blowers are not always right - but are doing it to settle scores or create unpleasantness for colleagues they don't like. Even if these colleagues survive the audit - they remain somehow tainted (the no smoke without fire maxim).
My other issue with the financial reward for whistle-blowing is that employees will skip internal communication to go immediately for the money. An employee who spots something wrong should first try to correct things from the inside - by talking to their boss, the human resource department or even their boss's boss. And only if no one is listening, only then go into whistle-blowing mode. Exaggerated a bit - no one will care about doing the right thing - only reporting the wrong thing. Could be a worrying side effect...