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Former Blackwater to pay massive fine for US export violation

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-21

US private security firm Xe Services, previously known as Blackwater, has agreed to pay a 42-million-dollar fine in a bid to avoid criminal charges for hundreds of export violations, the New York Times reported late Friday.

REUTERS - The private security contractor previously known as Blackwater Worldwide, which has protected U.S. officials in Afghanistan and Iraq, has agreed to pay $42 million in fines for hundreds of violations of U.S. export rules, the New York Times reported on Friday.

The violations included illegal weapons exports to Afghanistan, making unauthorized proposals to train troops in southern Sudan and providing sniper training for police in Taiwan, the Times reported, citing unnamed company and government officials familiar with the deal.

The newspaper reported that by reaching the agreement with the U.S. State Department to pay the fines, the company—now called Xe Services—avoids criminal charges over the violations of U.S. export control regulations.

The privately held company, based in North Carolina, is up for sale, the Times noted. The settlement does not resolve other legal troubles still facing the company and its former executives and other personnel, the Times said.

Those issues include the indictments of five former executives on weapons and obstruction charges, a federal probe into whether company officials tried to bribe Iraqi officials, and the arrest of two former Blackwater guards on federal murder charges in the killing of two Afghans.

A U.S. court has dismissed charges against Blackwater guards accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007. A federal investigation into Blackwater’s weapons shipments to Iraq brought guilty pleas from two former Blackwater employees.

By paying fines instead of facing criminal charges on the export violations, the company will be able to continue to receive government contracts, according to the Times.

According to the Times, a company spokeswoman confirmed the settlement but a State Department spokesman declined comment.

The newspaper noted that the company lost its largest federal contract last year, providing diplomatic security for U.S. Embassy personnel in Baghdad, but it still has contracts to provide security for the State Department and CIA in Afghanistan.
 

Date created : 2010-08-21

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