Monday, September 17, 2007
CHIQUITA FACES $25 MILLION FINE FOR PAYMENTS MADE TO PARAMILITARY GROUPS
Judge Royce Lamberth has confirmed a $25 million fine on banana company Chiquita for having given protection money to Colombian paramilitary groups.
In March, Chiquita pleaded guilty to paying $1.7 million to the United Self Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC).
The firm said its only motive was the safety of its Colombian workers.
DOJ prosecutors said Chiquita Brands International paid the money between 1997 and 2004 to the AUC in return for "protection".
The AUC, which is listed by the US and EU as a terrorist organisation, has carried out massacres and assassinations, although it is now engaged in a peace process in Colombia.
Prosecutors said Chiquita also made payments to Colombia's main left-wing rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).
Is Chiquita a victim, virtually forced to pay off armed gangs to protect its workers, or is it a soulless corporation, willing to do business with any violent or extremists group in order to sell its prodcut? I do not know.
Posted by - at 12:05 PM