Chiquita pays fine for supporting Colombian group

Chiquita Brands International , the Cincinnati -based company famous for its banana brand, on Monday made the first $5 million installment on a $25 million fine that it's agreed to pay as part of a guilty plea to charges that it supported a right-wing gro

Chiquita pays fine for supporting Colombian group
Chiquita Brands International , the Cincinnati -based company famous for its banana brand, on Monday made the first $5 million installment on a $25 million fine that it's agreed to pay as part of a guilty plea to charges that it supported a right-wing group in Colombia .

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth approved the plea deal during a court hearing at which a prosecutor said that Chiquita had made payments to both left-wing and right-wing terrorist groups to buy protection for its employees and facilities in Colombia .

In addition to the fine, the plea agreement places the corporation on five years probation and requires that it set up an internal ethics training program. Last week, the Justice Department decided that no Chiquita executives would be charged.

"This was a difficult situation for the company,'' James Thompson , Chiquita's general counsel, said after the hearing. "We were being extorted and we had to protect the well-being of our employees and their families.''

But Jonathan Malis , the Department of Justice prosecutor, called the payments "morally repugnant'' and said the company may have protected the lives of its workers but "fueled violence everywhere else.''

Agencies
Last Mod: 18 Eylül 2007, 16:38
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