Cognizant Chennai Campus Bribery Case: Former Execs’ Trial Delayed Over Key Indian Witness’ Passport Being With ED
by upasana sarbajna Business 06 October 2023
Initially, the trial was set to start on October 3rd, which has now been pushed. The new date for the start of the trial has not been decided as of yet.
The trial of the two former Cognizant executives in a case of bribery has been further pushed due to the absence of the key witness. This said individual cannot travel from India to the United States, said a US court.
The trial, which is the United States vs. Gordon Coburn and Steven Schwartz, was set to start on the 3rd of October.
The former President of Cognizant, Gordon Coburn, and the former Chief Legal Officer, Steven Schwartz, are charged with violating the FCPA or the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act allegedly over a bribe of $2.5 million which was paid to the officials in Chennai.
The alleged bribe exists for the construction of the KITS campus of Cognizant. L&T, which is one of the biggest Indian conglomerates, was given the task of its construction.
A letter was published by the United Nations Department of Justice to the court, which asked to postpone the trials, saying that the important witness, Srimanikandan Ramamoorthy, could not travel to the US due to the Enforcement Directorate in India withholding his passport.
Ramamoorthy, who was also a former executive at Cognizant, was in charge of dealing with the real estate programs of the company in India. “The Government understands that, since at least May 2023, Mr. Ramamoorthy has been under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, an investigative arm of the Indian Government, for his role in the bribery scheme charged in the Indictment. On September 23, 2023, the Government learned from Mr. Ramamoorthy, through his United States counsel, that on September 22, Mr. Ramamoorthy surrendered his passport to Officers of the Enforcement Directorate based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India,” the letter mentions.