Chiquita Pleads Guilty In Terrorism Probe

Washington (AP) -- The Chiquita Banana Company has pleaded guilty to doing business with terrorists.

In federal court in Washington, Chiquita Brands International admitted that, for years, it's been paying right-wing paramilitary groups and leftist rebels for protection of its Colombian banana-growing operations.

The plea is part of a deal with prosecutors that calls for the company to pay a $25 million fine.

Prosecutors say the Cincinnati-based company and several of its officers agreed to pay $1.7 million to a right-wing militia known as the AUC. Prosecutors say Chiquita then began making payments to two other groups as control of its banana-growing area shifted.

Chiquita stock has risen sharply since the plea deal was announced last week. But company shares were down in midmorning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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