- Chiquita Brands International had asked a judge to prevent the Securities and Exchange Commission from disclosing documents related to the business agreements between Chiquita and the right-wing terrorist group called United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (called the AUC, in Spanish). The judge rejected Chiquita's request.
- Chiquita admitted in 2007 that it had paid $1.7 million to the militia. The AUC is believed to be responsible for the deaths of some 4,000 civilians. Chiquita faces a lawsuit from 173 families who lost loved ones to AUC terror. Attorneys for those families will now get access to the SEC documents.
- The SEC documents sought by plaintiffs also include details about payments made to left-wing terrorist groups in Colombia—the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN).
Chiquita has long maintained that it did what it needed to do in order to protect its workers and property in the hellhole that was rural Colombia during the terror campaigns. The company says it was blackmailed into making payments and cannot be held responsible for what the terrorists did. The U.S. government would seem to differ on that. As far as we know there's no defense in the anti-terror laws that allow a company to make payments to terrorists. Certainly there's nothing in the law that would allow for such payments over multiple years. And that's exactly what Chiquita is alleged to have done. We'll wait to see what the SEC documents unveil. But we'll surprised if they paint Chiquita in a sympathetic light.