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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC SUES AES OVER ALLEGED ASH DUMPING

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP)–The Dominican Republic is seeking damages from a U.S. company that it claims dumped tons of industrial waste on its beaches, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. federal court.

The suit says that the Virginia-based electric power company AES Corp. (AES) dumped coal ash on its shores, causing six people to die from health complications, as well as harming the environment and stifling tourism.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., and seeks at least $80 million in damages, said Bart Fisher, a Washington attorney representing the Dominican government.

It claims 57,000 tons (51,710 metric tons) of coal ash were shipped from an AES plant in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico to beaches in the northern Dominican city of Manzanillo and the Samana Bay port of Arroyo Barril between October 2003 and March 2004.

The suit also alleges a conspiracy to avoid proper disposal of the waste, and accused AES of violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, among other laws.

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