Before 9am on August 24 the US feds raided the Nashville and Memphis facilities of Gibson Guitar Company for the second time looking for the illegal wood they believe the 117-year-old guitar makers are using to make their legendary axes.
The crux of the legal stoush, according to a press release from Gibson, is the allegation that the finished woods they are importing from Madagascar have not been finished by Indian workers. It appears this step of the product process must be completed by local finishers to satisfy the US Government’s interpretation of the Indian export laws.
According to Gibson’s press release, the raids were allegedly actioned, “without the support and consent of the government in India. Gibson has fully cooperated with the execution of the search warrants.” The first raid, said the Justice Department, was more to do with the area from which the wood was sourced, as opposed to the way in which it was finished.
Local republicans in Tennessee are up in arms, claiming that Obama’s office has an vendetta on the guitar builders; Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is aggressively fighting to “prove their innocence” delivering extensive evidence to Federal Court. None of the stock seized in either raid has been returned; no charges have been laid.