Gibson Guitar Accused of Forest Product Import Violations

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Stoel Rives attorney Greg Corbin discussed in Inside Counsel a recent federal raid on Gibson Guitar Corp. involving seizure of wood products imported from Madagascar and India. The seizure was based on alleged violations of The Lacey Act, which prohibits trade in protected plants and animals. Gibson is accused of violating the Lacey Act by importing wood taken or exported in violations of foreign laws. Following the seizures in U.S. vs. Ebony Wood in Various Forms, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on October 6 that it would mount a criminal investigation into the matter.

Corbin said the decision to launch a criminal investigation underscored the urgency for companies to establish Lacey Act compliance programs. "Companies should think very carefully about what form of due diligence they use to make certain materials are legally obtained," he noted. "That means understanding the laws of the jurisdiction from which the material comes, and also scrutinizing the required declarations. The more steps you take to build the best record you can, the better position you're in if law enforcement officers come knocking."

"DOJ accuses Gibson Guitar of environmental violations" was published by Inside Counsel, November 2011.

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Greg D. Corbin
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