The Defense Edge
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|Jim Kouri||August 10th 2012|
The liberal-left’s least favorite company, security contractor Blackwater, under its new corporate identity of Academi LLC, agreed on August 7th to pay more than $7 million in fines in order to settle federal charges regarding alleged arms smuggling and other crimes.
The documents. which were unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, North Carolina, stated that the company’s executives agreed to pay the fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement to settle all 17 violations of law.
The agreement also acknowledges and references a $42 million settlement between the company and the Department of State as part of a settlement of violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations, according to officials at the Justice Department (DOJ).
According to DOJ documents, the list of violations includes the possession automatic weapons in the United States without registration, deceptive statements made to government firearms officials about weapons tranferred to the Kingdom of Jordan, and passing secret plans for armored personnel carriers to Sweden and Denmark without U.S. government approval. A separate violation entailed illegally shipping body armor to nations overseas.
“Compliance with the firearms laws of the United States in both domestic and international commerce is essential to maintaining order and accountability,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Wayne L. Dixie. “Whether it is an individual or a corporation, we will enforce the provisions of the federal gun laws equally. If violations are discovered, we will move to hold those responsible for the violations accountable for their actions.”
Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials said Blackwater, which has held billions in U.S. security contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, repeatedly flouted U.S. laws.
Blackwater was founded in North Carolina in 1997 by a former Navy SEAL officer Erik Prince, and the company became well-known while working for the U.S. government during the Iraq War. Prince is said to be worth over one billion dollars.
IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett stated, “High-ranking corporate officials hold positions of trust not only in their companies but also in the eyes of the public. That trust is broken when such officials abuse their power and commit crimes to line their own pockets. An international fraud of this magnitude requires a coordinated effort among law enforcement agencies to stop those involved from profiting from their wrongdoing.”
A provision in the Academi-United States settlement prohibits the company executives from making any public statements “contradicting any aspect” of the agreement. Any such statement opens the door to nullification of the settlement by the U.S. Justice Department.
“Blackwater profited substantially from Department of Defense (DoD) contracts in support of overseas contingency operations over the past decade,” commented Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS). “This investigation showed that no contractor is above the law and that all who do business with the DoD will be held accountable. With this agreement, Blackwater acknowledged their wrongdoing and took steps to remedy and mitigate the damage they caused to the United States and the public trust.”
“For an extended period of time, Academi/Blackwater operated in a manner which demonstrated systemic disregard for U.S. government laws and regulations. Today’s announcement should serve as a warning to others that allegations of wrongdoing will be aggressively investigated,” said Chris Briese, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI.
The agreement also acknowledges and references a $42 million settlement between the company and the Department of State as part of a civil administrative settlement of violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations, according to the DOJ.
“The left-wing media and political activists hate the military and police but fear being fingered as anti-Americans, so all their hatred for soldiers and cops is transferred to private firms that offer military and law enforcement services,” said Sid Franes, a former Marine, police detective and security firm owner. “Now that we have an administration that shares the views of the radical left, you will see more and more cases against private security, military, and intelligence firms,” Franes predicted.
Jim Kouri, the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, writes for the Examiner, from where this article is adapted. He has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the U.S.