The notorious private military contracting firm formerly known as Blackwater has agreed to pay a fine of $7.5 million that allows it to avoid prosecution for 17 charges including arms smuggling, marking the end of a five-year federal criminal investigation, according to documents released Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in North Carolina.
“For an extended period of time, Academi/Blackwater operated in a manner which demonstrated systemic disregard for U.S. government laws and regulations," said Chris Briese, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI.
McClatchy reports that "the plea agreement details numerous times where Blackwater played fast and loose with the rules governing the export of military goods and ideas."
According to a statement, the investigation found "an array of criminal allegations including export and International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) allegations involving the manufacture and shipment of short-barreled rifles, fully automatic weapons, armored helicopters, armored personnel carriers, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) allegations in both Iraq and Sudan, unlicensed training of foreign nationals and firearms violations."
The Deferred Prosecution Agreement in the deal allows the company to avoid prosecution, only admitting to the actions listed while submitting to a period of supervision during which time "the government acknowledges the company’s efforts to reform its conduct and to mitigate the damage caused by that conduct."