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US court clears Infosys, Apple in visa abuse case

A California court has cleared Infosys and Apple of wrongdoing with regard to visa-related abuse.

The US court dismissed a whistle-blower’s suit under the False Claims Act, which had accused Apple and Infosys of conspiring to have two Indian nationals enter the US on a B-1 business visa to provide training at Apple.

This, the lawsuit had alleged, was in violation of immigration laws as the companies could have used the H1-B visa route, according to reports.

The lawsuit was filed by Carl Krawitt, a former contractor for Infosys. A B-1 visa is a temporary business visa.

Judge Lucy Koh dismissed Krawitt’s claim and the court came to the opinion that the trainer’s work under B-1 visa was acceptable and that neither Apple or Infosys was attempting to commit fraud.

The lawsuit also claimed that Infosys executives knew the company “lacked sufficient foreign nationals on H1-B visas to legally perform the classroom training sessions at Apple” that the company was contracted to provide, and that “only Indian foreign national workers on B-1 visas were available to perform services” for Apple at the time, the report said.

The lawsuit had further alleged that Apple had drafted invitation letters for the US government for the B-1 visas without advising it of the training sessions, or that there would be “substantive work” involved.

Instead, it had said the trainers would take part in “education meetings”. It claimed the same letters stated the trainers would not be paid, but they would in fact receive “trickle down compensation” from Infosys out of the firm’s fee.

Invitation letters

Apple countered that its trainers’ activities were permissible under B-1 laws and that there was no way to establish if it was done with intent, and that facts establishing the materiality of the invitation letters to the suit were questionable. Infosys shares closed at ₹718, marginally up from the previous day’s close.

This is not the first time Infosys has come under the lens of US authorities.

Jack Palmer, another former Infosys employee, earlier blew the whistle on the software major’s alleged abuses, which triggered a US Federal government investigation. Eventually the case got dismissed by Federal judge Myron H Thompson.

A similar lawsuit was filed by Satya Dev Tripuraneni, another Infosys employee, which got dismissed by the same Californian court. Infosys denied wrongdoing on all the occasions.

Source: The Hindu