Gibson Guitar Corporation has agreed to pay $350,000 in penalties to settle Federal criminal charges. The Nashville-based Corporation was charged with criminal violation under the Lacey Act, which since May 2008 has made it illegal to import wood that was harvested and exported illegally under another country’s laws, when they were importing ebony wood from Madagascar.
The company has agreed to pay $300,000 in fines, forfeit claims to more than $260,000 worth of wood seized by federal agents and donate $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to promote the conservation of protected tree species.
This was not the first time the Government has raided the Guitar makers however, when they were raided last August for imported fretboards from India. That raid came only two years after a dozen federal agents armed with automatic weapons charged into the Gibson factory in Nashville to seize ebony fingerboards from Madagascar.
The settlement between Gibson and the Federal Government is an agreement that frees Gibson from all criminal charges as long as the company doesn’t violate the agreement over the next year and a half and also negates a $261,000 recovery suit filed by Gibson for the ebony wood seized by the government.
-Jeffrey Hammond / 98.5 WNCX