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Carl Collen


Chiquita calls for lawsuit dismissal

Fresh produce giant asks US court to throw out cases filed by Colombians linked to civil war killings

Chiquita calls for lawsuit dismissal

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Chiquita Brands International has called on a US court to dismiss lawsuits brought against it by relatives of Colombians killed in civil war in the country, according to widespread reports in the US.

During the conflict, Chiquita had banana operations in the country and has previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to payments to right-wing paramilitary group AUC in Colombia, paying a US$25m fine in 2007.

However, the fresh produce group's attorney John Hall has this week told the US Circuit Court of Appeals that the latest lawsuits should be thrown out as Colombia, and not the US, is the correct forum for the cases.

Lawyers representing the Colombian relatives have said that the US is the correct place for the cases as Chiquita is headquartered there.

Relatives of the victims have accused Chiquita of assisting in killings during civil conflict, by paying the AUC US$1.7m over a seven-year period between 1997-2004, before Chiquita sold its Colombian subsidiary Banadex in 2004.

Chiquita has said that the payments were made because of threats against it by AUC.

The decision is not expected for several months.


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