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Erik Prince Selling Blackwater

Blackwater changed its name to Xe, and now it's hoping a change of hands might help the company's image: Erik Prince, head of the defense contractor, is working on a deal to sell the company to a small group of Los Angeles investors. Xe has faced an endless barrage of ethics complaints and lawsuits on charges ranging from murder to bribery to illegal weapons deals. Its most infamous incident came in 2007, when Blackwater employees killed 17 Iraqi citizens at Nisour Square in Baghdad. Expected to be announced Friday, the sale comes after the State Department threatened to stop awarding contracts to Xe as long as Prince owned it. Prince hopes the deal will remove the taint of his ownership, though he will maintain a major financial stake in the company.

December 17, 2010 3:12 AM