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Former Viacom VP Alleges She Was Fired in Retaliation for Whistleblowing re Illegal Tax Scheme Involving Ninja Turtles

Emanuel Shirazi

Nataki Williams, former Viacom VP, claims that she was fired in retaliation after opposing the company’s alleged illegal plan to avoid U.S. taxes on licensing rights for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Williams says she was fired in April of 2014 while on maternity leave after Viacom ignored her objections to a plan in 2013 to transfer TMNT rights to a entity in the Netherlands set up for the purposes of avoiding U.S. taxes.

Although the licensing work was handled in New York, Williams said that Viacom arranged for some minor work to be completed in the Netherlands to make it appear that the contracts were handled there. Williams, who was the vice president for financial planning and analysis, claims that Viacom was also planning on the same scheme for SpongeBob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer that would save the company millions.

Williams said that she was fired after six years of employment with the excuse that she inaccurately listed her child’s father as a spouse on her benefits paperwork. A mistake that was Viacom’s error she says.

Viacom responded with a statement that Williams was fired for “fraudulently claiming company benefits to which she was not entitled. Her legal claims are completely without merit, and we will vigorously defend against these claims in court.”

Williams’ lawyer said in an interview that Williams “experienced hostility when she opposed this proposed tax dodge, and was subjected to a transparently trumped up reason for her firing… which suggests the real reason she was fired was in retaliation for opposing something harmful to taxpayers and the company.”

What do you think of the whistleblower claims?

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