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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Infosys whistleblower to get $5-8 million compensation

PTI  New York, October 31, 2013
First Published: 14:28 IST(31/10/2013) | Last Updated: 03:00 IST(1/11/2013)

A former American employee of Infosys, who had brought a whistleblower lawsuit against the IT giant, could receive between $5 to 8 million of the total $34 million (Rs 207 crore) that the Indian company has promised to pay to settle the visa fraud allegations.

In one of the largest settlements in an immigration fraud case, Bangalore-based Infosys has agreed to pay the amount to resolve claims made by the federal prosecutors in Texas.\

On Wednesday, Infosys agreed to pay $34 million in settlement with US authorities.

Read: Infosys to pay $34 million in US visa case

John Bales, the US attorney for the district of Texas, said in a news conference in Plano on Wednesday that Jack Palmer, who had worked at Infosys and brought the whistle-blower lawsuit in Alabama in February 2011, would be "amply and justly rewarded." 

Palmer would get a small pie of the settlement amount that Infosys would have to cough up.

Authorities, however, refused to divulge the exact amount that Palmer would get, saying that it would be a "slightly complicated calculation about how the funds are apportioned." "It would be safe to say that Palmer can receive no more than 25% of the portion of the settlement amount that is attributable to his whistleblowing," attorney-in-charge at the US attorney's plano office deputy criminal chief, Shamoil Shipchandler, said in an email.

Palmer could receive as much as $5-8 million.
 
Bales said the compensation to Palmer would be made under the false claims act, adding that the government had done a lot of the work during its two-and-a-half-year investigation into the case.
    
This would be kept in mind while calculating Palmer's share, he said.
     
The payment by Infosys would be made within the next 30 days and include $5 million to Homeland Security Investigations for civil or administrative forfeiture, a similar amount to the department of state and $24 million to the US attorney's office for the eastern district of Texas.
        
Earlier, a New York Times report had quoted Palmer as saying that the entire visa fraud investigation had taken a "personal toll" on him but "it would have been much worse in the long run if I had turned the other cheek." "It was a question of right and wrong, following my conscience and following the law."  

Palmer had first reported that Infosys was writing false invitation letters for B-1 visas for Indian employees, because he was asked to write one and he refused.
    
Palmer said he had turned down an early settlement offer from Infosys, because it would not have allowed him to continue cooperating with federal investigators.   

"They wanted to buy my silence, and I wouldn’t do it," he said. "I never did it for the money. I did it because they were violating the law."

It is feared that the brand value of Indian IT companies may suffer abroad as a result.

Read: Indian IT companies to feel Infosys visa pinch


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