The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been ordered by a federal appeals court to release 10,000 records to a university research group investigating Chiquita Brands International and its support of a terrorist group in Columbia, yhe United Self-Defense Forces of Columbia (AUC). The National Security Archive of The George Washington University in Washington, DC, sued to get the documents, which were requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The information was originally gathered by the SEC a after the agencies had looked into allegations that Chiquita made illegal payments to the AUC.
Chiquita fought the release. In Florida, victims of the AUC have sued for crimes committed by the group.
In 2007, Chiquita pled guilty to charges that it had “engag[ed] in unauthorized transactions” with the AUC. Four years later, the National Security Archive published 5,500 pages of Chiquita’s records that showed the corporation benefitted from its transactions with both AUC and insurgents from the FARC and ELN guerrilla groups.
Chiquita became the first U.S. company to be convicted for engaging in transactions with a global terrorist organization. Other American companies are suspected of similar activities but have not been brought to justice.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers