19 Jan 2011

GIBSON GUITARS FAILS TO SQUASH ILLEGAL WOOD INVESTIGATION

Facing legal action under the Lacey Act following the seizure of suspected illegally harvested Madagascan rosewood and ebony from its Nashville factory, Gibson, the US guitar manufacturer, has been attempting to have the investigation quashed.

Several US publications including The Nashville Post and MMR magazine have reported that the ongoing investigation is likely to result in indictments.

Gibson had filed a motion to overturn the US Fish and Wildlife Service charges, but the agency successfully overturned the motion and continues to hold the seized wood.

The reports quote special agent Kevin Seiler testifying that his agency needs to maintain possession of the wood because “indictments are anticipated and defendant property is expected to be used in prosecution of that matter”.

The Gibson factory was raided in November 2009 and Madagascan rosewood and ebony, documents and computers were seized and a suit filed under the Lacey Act, which holds importers responsible for ensuring that the wood they buy originates from legal sources.

The investigation is particularly embarrassing for Gibson as CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, was a board member of the Rainforest Alliance prior to the case coming to light.  He has subsequently resigned.

Gibson has recently committed to source 100% of its wood from FSC-certified suppliers.

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