Banana profits went to terrorists

Add bananas to the list of products you need to be careful about buying. Chiquita Brands International, one of the world’s largest producers of bananas, has agreed to pay a $25 million fine to the U.S. government for paying protection money to terrorists through a former subsidiary in Colombia. Last month, the Ohio-based company disclosed ...

603278_chiquita_15.gif
603278_chiquita_15.gif

Add bananas to the list of products you need to be careful about buying.

Chiquita Brands International, one of the world's largest producers of bananas, has agreed to pay a $25 million fine to the U.S. government for paying protection money to terrorists through a former subsidiary in Colombia.

Last month, the Ohio-based company disclosed in its quarterly financial statement that it initially notified the U.S. Department of Justice of the problem in April 2003. But the payments, which reached $1.7 million altogether, continued into 2004. Chiquita was logging the transactions as "security payments" or "security services." Of course, in this instance, they happened to be paying terrorist groups not to kill or intimidate their employees.

Add bananas to the list of products you need to be careful about buying.

Chiquita Brands International, one of the world’s largest producers of bananas, has agreed to pay a $25 million fine to the U.S. government for paying protection money to terrorists through a former subsidiary in Colombia.

Last month, the Ohio-based company disclosed in its quarterly financial statement that it initially notified the U.S. Department of Justice of the problem in April 2003. But the payments, which reached $1.7 million altogether, continued into 2004. Chiquita was logging the transactions as “security payments” or “security services.” Of course, in this instance, they happened to be paying terrorist groups not to kill or intimidate their employees.

The groups paid are: the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces (AUC), the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (better known as FARC), and the National Liberation Army (ELN). All three are on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Now that Chiquita has reached a plea agreement, I wonder what other banana companies have been paying out protection money to terrorist groups? 

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