Xe Services, the private security company formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide, has reached an agreement with the State Department for the company to pay $42 million in fines for hundreds of violations of United States export control regulations, according to a report in the New York Times.
But by paying fines rather than facing criminal charges, Blackwater will be able to continue to obtain government contracts. The company lost its largest contract last year to provide diplomatic security for United States Embassy personnel in Baghdad, where the Iraqi government was incensed by killings of Iraqis in one highly publicised incident.
The $42m fine relates to an array of charges, including that the company shipped weapons and military equipment for use by its personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan in violation of export controls, and in some cases sought to hide its actions, according to the government. In one incident, Blackwater shipped weapons to Iraq hidden inside containers of dog food.
The New York Times reports that a federal investigation into the company’s weapons shipments to Iraq led to guilty pleas on criminal charges by two former Blackwater employees who are believed to have cooperated with a broader federal inquiry.
The fine does not resolve other legal issues facing the company, including a federal investigation into evidence that Blackwater officials sought to bribe Iraqi government officials.
(Source: New York Times)