The Justice Department said Tuesday it would not prosecute 10 Chiquita Brands International executives involved in the company's now-defunct payoff of Colombian terrorists to protect the company's most profitable banana-growing operation.
The government's decision was part of a sentencing memo urging US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth to fine Chiquita $25 million (â‚¬18 million) and have the company serve five years probation for its illegal deals. Lamberth set a sentencing hearing for next Monday.
If accepted, the fine would mark the largest criminal penalty ever imposed under US global terrorism sanctions laws.
Prosecutors dropped potential charges against the executives, most of whom have not been publicly identified, "based solely on the merits and the evidence" against them, said Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd.