Linde GmbH and its US subsidiary Linde Engineering North America have agreed a $22.8m settlement of a whistleblower lawsuit which alleged the industrial gas giant evaded US customs duties on materials it bought and imported to build chemical and natural gas plants.
The settlement resolved allegations that Linde violated the False Claims Act by knowingly making false statements on customs declarations to avoid paying duties owed on the companies’ imports, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ), US Attorney’s Office.
The $22.28m settlement includes $15m that Linde paid previously in two separate payments after it self-disclosed that it had underpaid customs duties, according to a statement from law US-based firm Phillips & Cohen LLP, which filed the lawsuit.
Between 2011 and 2017, Linde imported more than $500m in goods into the US, according to a release on the settlement from the DOJ. The US alleged that between 2011 and 2017, Linde avoided duties owed to the US, including in some instances antidumping and countervailing duties, by misrepresenting the nature, classification, and valuation of imported merchandise, as well as the applicability of free trade agreements.
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