A whistle-blower is nearly $8 million richer after helping the U.S. government establish an antidumping case against a Japanese ink manufacturer. Toyo Ink is paying $45 million to settle a suit filed by the government and John Dickson, CEO of Fort Mill, S.C.-based Nation Ford Chemical, alleging that Toyo imported carbazole violet pigment 23 (CVP-23) under false pretenses to avoid paying duties.
Importers of Indian and Chinese CVP-23 must pay antidumping duties. The government alleges that Toyo misrepresented CVP-23 from these countries as being made in Japan or Mexico, which are not subject to the duties. Although the government acknowledges that Toyo’s CVP-23 underwent a finishing process in Japan and Mexico before it was sent to the U.S., it says these steps were insufficient to change the country of origin.
Dickson, whose company produces CVP-23, says his sleuthing sniffed out the fraudulence of Toyo’s pigment origin claims. “I had sufficient industry knowledge to know this was unlikely to be true,” he says. “Nevertheless, it was necessary for me to expend literally thousands of hours obtaining Chinese export data and other information.”
Dickson filed a suit on behalf of the government under the False Claims Act in federal court in North Carolina in 2009. As a result, he is entitled to 17.5% of the settlement, or $7.875 million. Dickson says the money will “inure to the benefit of workers” at his South Carolina plant.
For its part, Toyo admits to no wrongdoing. But after considering the cost of litigating the case, the company says, it “reached a decision that a settlement was the best choice.”