Fresh Del Monte Produce Files Suit Against Eastbrook Companies Charging a Conspiracy to Extort Money.Business Editors
CORAL GABLES, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 19, 2003
Fresh Del Monte Produce Fresh Del Monte Produce (NYSE: FDP) is a major producer and distributor of fruit and other agricultural products.
The company came into existence in its current form in 1996, after a change of ownership. Inc. (NYSE NYSE
See: New York Stock Exchange :FDP FDP
fibrin (fibrinogen) degradation product. ) today announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Eastbrook Caribe, A.V.V., and two associated companies, which together have ties to Carlos Cabal Peniche This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims.
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Carlos Cabal Peniche was a Mexican banker in the 1980s and 1990's. , who until recently, was a Mexican fugitive from justice An individual who, after having committed a criminal offense, leaves the jurisdiction of the court where such crime has taken place or hides within such jurisdiction to escape prosecution. . The lawsuit seeks actual and compensatory damages A sum of money awarded in a civil action by a court to indemnify a person for the particular loss, detriment, or injury suffered as a result of the unlawful conduct of another. in excess of $620 million, in addition to special and punitive damages.
The lawsuit, filed today in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. , charges that the Eastbrook companies, acting in concert with other persons, conspired in attacking Fresh Del Monte through a series of actions - including filing baseless lawsuits, instituting inflammatory campaigns in the press to cast doubt on the validity of the 1996 acquisition of the predecessor company, and strategically placing misleading information with analysts and journalists.
The lawsuit is being brought by Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., one of its subsidiaries, and the IAT IAT Intelligent Agent Technology
IAT International Conference on Intelligent Agent Technology (Joint IEEE, WIC, and ACM conference)
IAT Implicit Association Test
IAT Intake Air Temperature
IAT Import Address Table Group Inc., a privately-owned holding company, which owns nearly half of Fresh Del Monte's shares. Defendants are three Eastbrook companies: Eastbrook Caribe, A.V.V., Eastbrook, Inc. and Eastbrook Limited.
The lawsuit charges a conspiracy among the Eastbrook companies, and co-conspirators -including Cabal Cabal (kəbăl`), inner group of advisers to Charles II of England. Their initials form the word (which is, however, of older origin)—Clifford of Chudleigh, Ashley (Lord Shaftesbury), Buckingham (George Villiers), Arlington (Henry Bennet), , Edgardo Valencia, as well as a group of individuals and one corporation claiming to be former indirect shareholders, who filed a lawsuit on December 18, 2002 against the Company and others in Miami-Dade County, Florida Miami-Dade County (formerly known as Dade County and many times referred to as simply Miami or Dade) is a county located in the southeastern part of the state of Florida. ; BB&T Corporation; and Heather Jones, an analyst for BB&T Capital Markets.
All these actions, the lawsuit charges, were aimed at lowering the market value of Fresh Del Monte's stock and tarnishing its reputation in the hopes of extorting money from the Company. Now that the current management have built Fresh Del Monte into a substantially larger and profitable business, Eastbrook is seeking to obtain a portion of its increased worth, to which it simply has no right, the suit notes.
Further, the lawsuit charges that the plaintiffs in the suit and the Eastbrook companies entered into an agreement on November 18, 1996, which "resolved all of Eastbrook's claims" based on its interests in Fresh Del Monte's predecessor company. In the agreement, Eastbrook agreed to terminate the litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.
When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation. it had begun regarding the 1996 acquisition, and to release "certain claims and indemnify certain parties involved in the 1996 acquisition" of Fresh Del Monte from its Mexican owners against any damages incurred.
In a related matter, yesterday, Fresh Del Monte requested a clarification from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in light of continuing speculation and reports suggesting that the Company has been subject to a preliminary inquiry by the SEC. In response, the SEC staff advised Fresh Del Monte that the staff has been in contact with third parties concerning matters related to the Company. The Company is unaware of the substance of those contacts.
Fresh Del Monte is a leading vertically integrated producer and marketer of high quality fresh and fresh-cut produce. The Company's primary products include bananas, pineapples, melons, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, grapes, citrus, apples, pears, peaches, plums and plantains. The Company markets its products worldwide under the DEL MONTE(R) brand, a symbol of product quality and reliability since 1892.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements regarding the intents, beliefs or current expectations of the Company or its officers with respect to various matters. These forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to the Company and the Company assumes no obligation to update these statements. It is important to note that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties. The Company's actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including those described under the caption "Key Information - Risk Factors" in Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.'s Form 20-F for the year ended December 27, 2002.
Note to the Editor: This release and other press releases are available on the Company's web site, http://www.freshdelmonte.com.