Why Chiquita Is Lobbying Against a 9/11 Victims Bill

Banana giant Chiquita is aggressively lobbying against a 9/11 victims bill that would make it easier to sue financial backers of terrorist groups.

Its concern? This legislation could force the Cincinnati-based multinational fruit corporation to pay up for its financial backing of a right-wing paramilitary organization in Colombia that is widely recognized as a “terrorist” organization, including by the United States government, for massacring civilians, committing torture and other atrocities.

Journalist Tim Mak revealed Tuesday in the Daily Beast that Chiquita has spent over $780,000 in the past year and a half to oppose the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which is sponsored by families of 9/11 victims and aimed at expanding the legal liability of financial backers for terrorist acts.

The legislation, which is currently stalled, would have implications beyond the 9/11 attacks if passed.

Chiquita in 2007 pleaded guilty to paying at least $1.7 million dollars to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia between 1997 and 2004. The company reached a plea deal with the U.S. Department of Justice, claiming that the payments had been extorted. It was forced pay $25 million dollars to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Meanwhile, victims of the terrorism Chiquita funded have not seen a penny from the corporation.

In a statement sent to the Daily Beast, the company said its “sole interest” in lobbying against the 9/11 victims bill “is to ensure that the legislation does not inadvertently promote litigation against individuals and companies who, like Chiquita, were victims of extortion by terrorist groups.”