NEW BERN, N.C., Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. security firm Academi will pay $50 million to end two cases alleging it engaged in rogue arms and technology trafficking, prosecutors said Tuesday.
U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker said documents unsealed in North Carolina reveal Academi LLC, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide and Xe Services LLC, admits to certain facts about the 17 criminal counts in the deferred prosecution agreement and will pay a $7.5 million fine. The agreement also acknowledges a $42 million civil settlement between the company and the U.S. State Department regarding alleged violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations.
"Today's proceedings conclude a lengthy and complex investigation into a company which has provided valuable services to the United States government, but which, at times, and in many ways, failed to comply with important laws and regulations concerning how we, as a country, interact with our international allies and adversaries," U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker said.
IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett said high-ranking officials at the company broke the public's trust by abusing their power and committing crimes "to line their own pockets."
John F. Khin, a special agent in charge at the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, said Academi/Blackwater officials "acknowledged their wrongdoing, and took steps to remedy and mitigate the damage they caused to the United States and the public trust."
FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Briese said Academi/Blackwater "operated in a manner which demonstrated systemic disregard for U.S. government laws and regulations" for "an extended period of time."
Brock D. Nicholson, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta, said company employees "were frequently in possession of illegal firearms and aided other foreign nationals in the acquisition of illegal firearms."
The deal concluded a five-year, multi-agency federal investigation of allegations involving the manufacture and shipment of short-barreled rifles, fully automatic weapons, armored helicopters, armored personnel carriers, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act allegations in both Iraq and Sudan, unlicensed training of foreign nationals and firearms violations.
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