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Wednesday, August 8, 2012 - Page updated at 05:30 p.m.
$7.5M fine for Blackwater successor
By MICHAEL BIESECKER
The Associated Press
RALEIGH, N.C. — The international security contractor formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine to settle federal criminal charges related to arms smuggling and other crimes.
Documents unsealed Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in North Carolina said the company, now called Academi LLC, agreed to pay the fine as part of a deferred-prosecution agreement. The list of violations includes possessing automatic weapons in the U.S. without registration, lying to federal regulators about weapons provided to the king of Jordan, passing secret plans for armored personnel carriers to Sweden and Denmark without U.S. approval, and illegally shipping body armor overseas.
Federal agents and prosecutors said the company, which has held billions in U.S. security contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, repeatedly flouted U.S. laws.
Blackwater was founded in 1997 in Moyock, N.C., by former Navy SEAL Erik Prince. It rose to attention in 2004 after Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah killed four Blackwater contractors and hung their bodies from a bridge. In 2007, Blackwater contractors guarding a U.S. State Department convoy in Baghdad fired on civilian vehicles, mistakenly thinking the convoy was under attack. Seventeen Iraqis died.
The company, renamed Xe, was sold in 2011 and became Academi.
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