FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German financial watchdog Bafin is opening a new office on Monday dedicated to corporate whistleblowers, aiming to encourage more business insiders to expose wrongdoing.

The move is designed to make more efficient use of the growing role whistleblowers are playing in uncovering bad behavior by individuals and companies within the financial sector.

Bafin said the new office will centralize the collection of details from whistleblowers and follow a special protocol to ensure identities are kept secret. The watchdog can also be contacted anonymously under the procedure.

"Protecting the people providing the information will have the highest priority," Bafin said.

Whistleblowers and leaks to the media have exposed a series of scandals in recent years, such as tax evasion or the setting up of shell companies by global banks on behalf of clients.[nL3N1781XE][nL2N1891KM]

A Luxembourg court this week handed out suspended sentences to two former accounting firm employees who leaked data about Luxembourg's tax deals with large corporations, highlighting the problems of balancing some countries' secrecy laws while protecting whistleblowers.[nL8N19L47B]

(Reporting by Jonathan Gould; Editing by David Goodman)