Chiquita logo close-up

Chiquita Brands International has revealed that it is to pay up to US$4m in legal fees to plaintiffs as part of a settlement approved by a US District Judge in Miami, bringing to a close stakeholder litigation over charges that the group engaged in transactions with Colombian terrorists.

According to reports in the US, Chiquita will also pass a board resolution that says it does not authorise 'illegal payments to terrorist organisations' or 'bribes to foreign officials'.

The company pleaded guilty to the charges in 2007, having initially reported the payments to the US Justice Department in 2003 after it learned that the group it was funding had been designated as a terrorist orgnisation in the US.

Although the group argued that it had been a victim of extortion, prosecutors pushed for criminal penalties, and the fresh produce giant was fined US$25m, while it continues to face a criminal investigation in Colombian and US lawsuits filed by families allegedly victimised by paramilitary groups.

'We're pleased with the settlement that we've reached,' said Chiquita spokesman Ed Lloyd in a statement. 'We think it's on terms that are pretty favourable.'