CINCINNATI (CN) – Directors of Chiquita Brands International paid millions of dollars in bribes to terrorist organizations in Colombia, knowing the terrorists would use the money to buy guns, murder innocent civilians and export drugs to the United States, shareholders claim in Federal Court.
Chiquita admitted the charges in Colombian and U.S. courts, and promised to pay $25 million in damages in Colombia, the complaint states. Through its Colombian subsidiary, Banamex, Chiquita paid off the left-wing armies FARC and ELN from 1989 and 1997, and paid more than $1.7 to the right-wing death squad Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) from 1997 to 2004, the complaint states. Defendant directors knew the United States had declared the AUC a terrorist organization, but paid it anyway, enabling it to kill more than 3,700 people, the complaint states. Defendants include Chiquita 10 directors and former directors: Fernando Aguirre, Morten Arntzen, Jeffrey D. Benjamin, Robert W. Fisher, Cyrus F. Freidheim Jr., Clare M. Hasler, Roderick M. Hills, Durk I. Jager, Jaime Serra, Steven P. Stanbrook. Plaintiffs, the City of Philadelphia Public Employees Retirement System, are represented by the City of Philadelphia solicitor. See complaint.