Ouch, that’s a hefty fine. In fact, it’s the largest fine ever imposed under counter-terrorism laws.
Chiquita voluntarily alerted the Justice Department in April 2003 of the deals, which by that time had been ongoing for 15 years. The banana company admitted to paying about $1.7 million between 1997 and 2004 to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known as AUC for its Spanish initials.
The AUC has been responsible for some of the worst massacres in Colombia’s civil conflict and for a sizable percentage of the country’s cocaine exports. The U.S. government designated the AUC a terrorist group in September 2001.
Additionally, Chiquita made payments to the National Liberation Army, or ELN, and the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, as control of the company’s banana-growing area shifted.