After Years Of Investigation And Armed Raids The DOJ Drops Criminal Charges Against Gibson Guitar
“After three years and two raids with federal agents branding automatic weapons, Gibson Guitar has settled its issues with the Federal government, at least for now. The music company’s problems began when the Justice Department alleged that it had violated a ban on the importation of endangered wood products under the Lacey Act.
Gibson had purchased and imported ebony and other exotic woods from Madagascar and India incurring the threat of criminal charges from the DOJ. In a deal to end its problems with Justice, Gibson had to admit that it had failed to ensure that the exotic wood it was purchasing from its supplier had been legally harvested and exported.
Gibson also agreed to pay a $300,000 penalty to the U.S. government, and a “community service payment” of $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Fish and Wildlife Service conducted the initial investigation and the $50,000 will be used on research projects or tree conservation activities.
“We felt compelled to settle, as the costs of proving our case at trial would have cost millions of dollars and taken a very long time to resolve,” Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz said in an Aug. 6 news release announcing the settlement. “This allows us to get back to the business of making guitars. An important part of the settlement is that we are getting back the materials seized in a second armed raid on our factories and we have formal acknowledgement that we can continue to source rosewood and ebony fingerboards from India, as we have done for many decades.””