US: Security Contractor Charged With Arms Trafficking

US security contractor Academi LLC, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide and Xe Services, have settled charges of arms trafficking and related crimes filled against it by the US Department of Justice. Academi agreed to pay a US$7.5 million fine.

Prosecutors unsealed two charges against Academi on Tuesday, alleging that the company illegally exported encrypted satellite phones to Sudan in 2005. The charges also include numerous counts of weapons exporting violations and trafficking, as well as providing security services and a threat assessment to Sudan, and unlicensed military training of Canadian military and law enforcement personnel.

“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 of the FBI Tuesday. “Today’s announcement should serve as a warning to others that allegations of wrongdoing will be aggressively investigated.”

Further, Academi is charged with providing technical and engineering military data to Sweden and Denmark without required authorization from the State Department, and exporting ammunition and body armor to Iraq and Afghanistan without a license. Academi was also charged with possession of unregistered automatic weapons.

The US$7.5 million fine comes two years after the company agreed to a US$42 million settlement with the State Department on similar charges. At the time, Academi was called Xe Services.