Hagens Berman represents American citizens who were victims of terrorism in Colombia. The victims were harmed by Colombian terrorists that Chiquita Brands International, Inc. paid so that it could grow bananas in Colombia in regions that were controlled by the terrorists. Chiquita is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of fruits and vegetables and admitted it paid Colombian terrorist organizations as part of a guilty plea to settle criminal charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Chiquita was placed on corporate probation and paid a $25 million dollar fine because of its conduct in Colombia. The United States government addressed Chiquita’s conduct in its sentencing memorandum:
This is a very serious matter. Defendant Chiquita has admitted to paying terrorist organizations in Colombia for about fifteen years from 1989 through February 2004. Defendant Chiquita paid all three major terrorist organizations in Colombia: the AUC, the FARC, and the ELN. Those terrorist organizations are responsible for a staggering loss of life in that country... The money that defendant Chiquita paid to the AUC (and to the FARC and the ELN before that) was put to whatever use the terrorists saw fit. Money is fungible. Regardless of the Company’s motivations, defendant Chiquita’s money helped buy weapons and ammunition used to kill innocent victims of terrorism. Simply put, defendant Chiquita funded terrorism.
Plaintiffs have sued Chiquita under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows American victims of international terrorism to sue anyone responsible and to recover treble damages and attorney’s fees. The claims are pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida as part of the consolidated multidistrict litigation to resolve claims related to Chiquita’s payments to Colombian terrorist organizations.
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