Friday, August 20, 2010

Blackwater/Xe founder relocating to UAE

Erik Prince testifies during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in October 2007. (file photo)

Source: Press TV

Erik Prince, the founder of the notorious security company Blackwater/Xe, has left the United States and is settling with his family in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

Prince, 51, personally is not facing any criminal charges for now, but his company, now known as Xe Services LLC, has been implicated in a series of scandals related to its operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, court documents say.

In documents filed with the Justice Department, the North Carolina-based company is facing multiple lawsuits, including a case in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, alleging that Blackwater/Xe defrauded the US government. The case was brought up by two former employees, AFP reported on Wednesday.

Five former executives have been indicted on federal firearms charges, and two former contractors are on trial in Norfolk, Virginia, accused of murdering two civilians in Afghanistan in 2009. They pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs had sought to obtain a statement from Prince before his departure for Abu Dhabi, saying he might not return to the United States “if he is indicted on weapons smuggling charges or other matters.”

Prince's attorneys responded, saying, “There is no basis for such speculation.” But the judge in the case has ordered Prince to appear for the deposition on August 23, 2010 or another day, but not later than September 3, in Abu Dhabi.

Xe has earned over $1 billion doing security work for the US government in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prince put the company up for sale in June.

In the June 4 edition of The Wall Street Journal, it was reported that Xe's most recent government contract tasked the group with protecting CIA bases in Afghanistan.

The report was confirmed at the end of June by Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta during a TV interview, the newspaper wrote.

Blackwater/Xe mercs were hated by the Iraqis during their time in that country because they were able to kill many civilians with impunity.

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