Brazil firm proposes takeover of company accused of Colombia paramilitary connections

Posted on Aug 13 2014 - 12:33pm by Today News
(Photo: Widetext)

Just three weeks after the dismissal of a lawsuit filed with Chiquita Brands International over its connections to paramilitaries, the company received a $611 million takeover bid from a Brazillian consortium according to international business media reports. 

One of the world’s biggest processors of juice, the Brazilian Cutrale Group and Brazillian financiers Safra Group made a $611 million proposal to buy banana giant Chiquita on Monday, according to US wire service Bloomberg

This business offer was suggested less than three weeks after US court threw out the lawsuit against the banana company on July 24, 2014.

Chiquita was being sued by thousands of Colombians who had lost their beloved ones to paramilitary atrocities, and they accused the company of attributing to the deaths due to Chiquita’s payments of $1.7 million to now-defunct paramilitaries in Colombia, between 1997 and 2004.

MORE: US courts throw out case against Chiquita by families of Colombia paramilitary victims

An anonymous source quoted by Bloomberg implied that Cutrale decided to wait to the lawsuit was settled before making the proposal.

After the lawsuit was dismissed Cutrale saw no legal risk in purchasing the debated banana importer, the anonymous source told Bloomberg.

The Brazilian bidders explained that the time is right to make an agreement. The companies stated that the recent dismissal of civil case against Chiquita, made the deal economical safe, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In 2007 the banana brand was found guilty in a US court of funding the paramilitary umbrella group AUC, which was deemed a terrorist organization by US authorities.

The verdict resulted in a $25 million fine to US authorities. However the Colombian families brought the action in hopes of recovering something from the company to compensate them for their lost relatives.

MORE: Paramilitary victims’ families ‘disappointed’ over Chiquita case dismissal, seek reversal

In July this year, the case was denied further trial because the panel of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Miami stated US courts lack power to review the claims because all relevant conduct took place outside the country and Chiquita’s mere presence in the United States did not confer jurisdiction.

Chiquita claimed the payments were extorted and attempted to get the lawsuit dropped in April 2014. They admitted to making the payments, but the banana importer argued that there was no directly link to the thousands of death caused by the paramilitary organization.

AUC has allegedly committed tens of thousands of human rights violation.

FACTSHEET: AUC

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