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Blackwater agrees to pay fines

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[August 21, 2010]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- The troubled security firm formerly known as Blackwater will pay $42 million in fines to settle thousands of violations of U.S. export control regulations, according to The New York Times.

HardwareThe newspaper reported on its website Friday that the Moyock, N.C.-based company now known as Xe (zee) Services reached a settlement agreement with the State Department.

The alleged violations included providing sniper training for Taiwanese police officers, illegal weapons exports to Afghanistan and making unauthorized proposals to train troops in south Sudan, the newspaper said. The State Department requires government approval before the transfer of certain types of military technology or knowledge to other countries.

A company spokeswoman confirmed the deal to The Associated Press but did not immediately know the amount. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said he was unaware of the settlement and had no comment.

The settlement involves practices from before Blackwater was rebranded as Xe Services.

The private company provided guards and services to the U.S. government in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. It became one of the most respected defense contractors in the world but also attracted sharp criticism over its role in those missions.

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It has been trying to rehabilitate its image since a 2007 shooting in Baghdad that killed 17 people and outraged the Iraqi government. A federal grand jury has indicted five Blackwater officials on conspiracy weapons and obstruction of justice charges.

The company still has contracts to provide security for both the State Department and the CIA in Afghanistan. In June, the CIA gave Xe an additional $100 million contract to provide security for its regional offices in Afghanistan.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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