Lawsuit filed by former Cognizant employee against board members voluntarily dismissed

Mumbai: A lawsuit filed by a former employee of IT services provider Cognizant suing current and former board members as well as key executives for allegedly misleading shareholders about a bribery scandal in India has been voluntarily dismissed by him.

“Plaintiff Ravindra Guyyala voluntary dismisses his claims…without prejudice” said a court notice reviewed by ET.

The petition had named former CEO Francisco D’Souza, current CFO Karen McLoughlin, former president Gordon Coburn, and former chief legal officer Steven E. Schwartz and board members, including current CEO Brian Humphries, as defendants.

Guyyala in the lawsuit had alleged that the executives and board members breached duties by issuing false, misleading statements and omitting material information in the company’s public filings about the bribe payments to get approval for the construction of a new campus in Chennai.

In 2014, Cognizant had allegedly authorised a contractor to pay a $2 million bribe to a senior government official to issue a planning permit for its new campus in the southern Indian city. The payment, along with a scheme to conceal a $2.5 million reimbursement to the contractor, was authorised by two senior executives at Cognizant’s US headquarters, according to the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC), which investigated the matter between 2014 and 2016. The executives, including former Cognizant president Gordon Coburn, resigned in 2016.

In 2019, Cognizant settled the charges with the SEC without admitting or denying the allegations. It agreed to pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest of approximately $19 million and a penalty of $6 million.


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