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Published on : Friday, November 8, 2013
BANGALORE/WASHINGTON – Software behemoth Infosys Ltd agreed on Wednesday to pay $34 million to end a U.S. investigation related to the widespread practice by Indian firms of flying workers to client sites in the United States on temporary visas.
The settlement, which the U.S. Justice Department said was the largest in a case of alleged civil fraud over visas, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Infosys, India’s second-largest IT services exporter, agreed in the settlement that it committed civil violations of U.S. employment law, but it was not required to admit and did not admit to widespread further wrongdoing.
“Infosys denies and disputes any claims of systemic visa fraud, misuse of visas for competitive advantage or immigration abuse. Those claims are untrue and are assertions that remain unproven,” Infosys said in a statement.
The company refuted that the allegations were criminal, and that there would be no limitations on its eligibility for U.S. federal contracts or access to U.S. visa programmes as a result of the settlement.
The Justice Department had alleged in court papers that Infosys knowingly and unlawfully sent people to work without proper visas, that there were widespread failures in the company’s record-keeping and that the company tried to deceive U.S. consular officials with false “invitation letters”, which tell the government the purpose of travel.
One invitation letter from May 2010 for someone identified in court papers as “AR” said the person “would be involved in meetings and business discussions,” but the real purpose of the trip was for computer coding and programming, the Justice Department said.
One reason the Justice Department decided to settle its allegations rather than try to prove them at trial was that Infosys took steps to fix irregularities and agreed to outside monitoring, said U.S. Attorney John Bales of the Eastern District of Texas.