WASHINGTON (April 14) - A big-league baseball team, oil giants and dozens of other U.S. companies have doled out thousands of dollars to quietly settle government charges of trade violations, including deals with Iraq and Cuba, according to a watchdog group.
Russell Mokhiber, editor of the legal newsletter Corporate Crime Reporter, accused the Treasury Department Monday of trying to shield these companies and others from the ''glaring light of adverse publicity.'' What few details are being released, he said, are tucked away ''in the bowels of (Treasury's) Web site.''
The actions were brought by Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which helps enforce sanctions against terrorists, drug dealers and foreign countries - such as Cuba, Iran, Iraq and North Korea - that the United States doesn't want companies doing business with.
As a result of litigation filed on his behalf by the watchdog group Public Citizen, Mokhiber said, the office last year released details on more than 300 cases. This month OFAC released information on 59 more cases.
Among the allegations and settlements, according to Corporate Crime Reporter:
-Chevron/Texaco paid about $14,000 for allegedly violating rules governing trade with Iraq.
-For alleged trade with Cuba, the New York Yankees paid the government $75,000; Wal-Mart paid $50,000; ESPN paid about $39,000; and Caterpillar paid $18,000.
-Exxon Mobil paid $50,000 and Wells Fargo $5,500 for alleged trade with Sudan.
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.