Appeals court considers settlement with company accused of making illegal sales to Iran

Markets Associated Press

A federal appeals court is considering whether a judge could reject as too lenient a deal to settle criminal charges against a Dutch aerospace company accused of illegally selling aircraft parts to Iran, Sudan and Myanmar.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard arguments Friday in a case involving the Justice Department's decision not to prosecute Fokker Services BV under an agreement that called for $21 million in penalties.

A federal judge earlier this year refused to accept a deal that he called "grossly disproportionate" to the serious nature of the alleged crimes.

The Justice Department says the judge is interfering with prosecutors' discretion. But the three appellate judges hearing the case agreed that courts have some authority in deciding whether to accept settlements.