|August 10, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. — The international security contractor formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine to settle federal criminal charges related to arms smuggling and other crimes.
Documents unsealed Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in North Carolina said the company, now called Academi LLC, agreed to pay the fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement to settle 17 violations.The list of violations includes possessing automatic weapons in the United States without registration, lying to federal firearms regulators about weapons provided to the king of Jordan, passing secret plans for armored personnel carriers to Sweden and Denmark without U.S. government approval and illegally shipping body armor overseas.
Federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents said the company, which has held billions in U.S. security contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, repeatedly flouted U.S. laws.
“Compliance with these laws is critical to the proper conduct of our defense efforts and to international diplomatic relations,” said Thomas G. Walker, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. “This prosecution is an important step to ensuring that our corporate citizens comply with these rules in every circumstance.”
Blackwater was founded in 1997 in Moyock, N.C., by former Navy SEAL Erik Prince, but the company rose to national attention after winning massive no-bid security contracts from U.S. government at the beginning of the Iraq War.