Xe For Sale

by Daniel Russ on June 9, 2010

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By JAMES RISEN c/o Daily Beast

WASHINGTON — Burdened by lawsuits, criminal investigations and negative publicity stemming from its private security work in Iraq and Afghanistan, Blackwater Worldwide is being put up for sale, the company has announced.

Blackwater, which changed its nam,e to Xe Services and brought in new management last year in order to remake its image, is pursuing a sale in part because that overhaul has failed to change perceptions of the company, most critically inside government, which is its main customer.

Erik Prince, the former member of the Navy Seals and heir to an automotive fortune who founded Blackwater, said in a statement given to The Associated Press late Monday that making the decision to sell the company was difficult, but that he no longer wanted to deal with the intense criticism the business has faced….In March, Xe Services sold its aviation division, Presidential Airways, to the AAR Corporation, which is based in Illinois. Among the company’s largest remaining assets is the 7,000-acre compound it operates at its headquarters, which includes shooting ranges, driving courses and other facilities for military and law enforcement training.

The effort to sell the company comes in the wake of intense legal scrutiny of its past management.

In April, five former Blackwater executives, including its past president, Gary Jackson, who had served as Mr. Prince’s most trusted lieutenant, were indicted on federal weapons charges. Separately, the Justice Department has opened an inquiry into whether Blackwater officials sought o bribe Iraqi government officials in order to continue to operate in Iraq after a 2007 shooting involving Blackwater guards in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed. Manslaughter charges brought against five of the guards were dismissed last year, but the Justice Department is appealing the decision.


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