Guitar maker lashes back at authorities after second raid – and suggests illegal wood claims are both unfounded and un-American
The Gibson Guitar Corporation has lashed back at authorities after their offices were raided by federal agents for the second time in two years yesterday.
And they’ve accused the US Justice department of bullying the firm – without filing any charges.
Investigations are continuing into allegations Gibson have been using illegal wood in the manufacture of their instruments.
But chief exec Henry Juszkiewicz claims the only question-mark over their operations has been created by US officials choosing to misinterpret the law of India.
He says: “The Department of Justice has suggested the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal.
“Not because of US law, but because of the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal. This action was taking without the support and consent of the government of India.
“So our government says wood is illegal if US workers produce it. They are bullying us without filing charges.”
Juszkiewicz insists Gibson “fully cooperated with the execution of search warrants” during yesterday’s raids on three premises, which saw production halted and staff sent home.
He continues: “It’s not about illegal logging, conservation or the environment. Since 2009 Gibson has fully cooperated with the government’s investigation and has provided documentation regarding wood-buying activities over the years.
“In 2009 agents with automatic weapons invaded the Gibson factory in Nashville. They seized guitars and ebony fingerboards from Madagascar. Criminal charges have not been filed yet the government still holds Gibson’s property. Statements and documents show the wood was legally exported under Madagascar law.
“Gibson is attempted to have its property returned in a civil proceeding pending in federal court – but the Justice Department has asked the judge to stop the case indefinitely.
“No law has been violated. Gibson has complied with foreign laws and believes it is innocent of any wrongdoing.”