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Dole Foods Cleared of Colombia Murder Charges

March 10, 2016
Dole was accused of being involved in 57 murders in Colombia.

A Los Angeles judge, earlier this week, dismissed a case in which Dole Food Co. was accused of involvement in 57 murders in Colombia, the company said.

The lawsuit had been brought by 167 plaintiffs who alleged the California-based multinational had funded violent paramilitaries during the country’s civil conflict.

Superior Court Judge Jane Johnson took the action after Dole attorneys earlier this month asked that the case be thrown out. The case cannot be retried.

The Colombian plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in 2009 alleging Dole paid a right-wing paramilitary group known in Spanish as Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia between 1997 and 2006 to provide security for banana-growing operations.

The victims were union-member employees of a Dole subsidiary who had raised complaints or were living on land the company wanted for its operations, the plaintiffs said.

They accused the company of direct involvement in the violence.

Dole, which had always denied the allegations, welcomed the action.

"This is a long overdue dismissal of a case that should never have been brought in the first place," Genevieve Kelly, Dole vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

"These plaintiffs' lawyers acted in bad faith throughout almost seven years of litigation in trying to extract undeserved payments from the company and making false and inflammatory accusations," she said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016

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