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Blackwater Security Agrees to Pay $42 Million in Fines

A report says the private security company formerly called Blackwater Worldwide has agreed with the U.S. State Department to pay $42 million in fines for hundreds of violations of U.S. export control regulations.

The New York Times
reported late Friday that the company, now known as Xe Services, agreed to pay the fines to avoid criminal charges that would preclude it from being able to compete for future government contracts.

Officials say the violations include illegal weapons exports to Afghanistan, unauthorized proposals to train troops in southern Sudan, and providing sniper training for police officers in Taiwan.

The newspaper says Xe Services has confirmed the deal. The State Department has not yet commented.

The company formerly known as Blackwater achieved notoriety in 2007 when its agents opened fire in downtown Baghdad and killed 17 people, a number of civilians among them. The company no longer provides security in Baghdad, but still has contracts in Afghanistan with the State Department and U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Among the company's other troubles are five officials indicted on conspiracy weapons and obstruction of justice charges. There is a federal investigation into allegations Blackwater officials tried to bribe Iraqi government officials. And two former Blackwater employees have been arrested on federal murder charges, stemming from the killing of two Afghans in 2009.

The founder of Xe Services has put the company up for sale.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.