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U.S. will pay Alan Gross $3.2 million as part of settlement agreement

Dec. 17, 2014: Alan Gross, accompanied by his wife, Judy, speaks during a news conference at his lawyer's office in Washington. Gross was released from Cuba after five years in a Cuban prison. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Dec. 17, 2014: Alan Gross, accompanied by his wife, Judy, speaks during a news conference at his lawyer's office in Washington. Gross was released from Cuba after five years in a Cuban prison. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Alan Gross, who was jailed in Cuban doing government contract work, will receive $3.2 million as part of a settlement agreement made final this week.

The federal government said it settled with Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI), a Maryland-based company Gross was working for at the time of his arrest.

Gross, who was arrested in 2009, was freed on Dec. 17 as the U.S. announced it would re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than a half-century. He had been working there to set up Internet access without local censorship for its small Jewish community, but the Cuban government considered such work subversive and sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said in a statement Tuesday that the agreement would resolve claims pending before the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals for unanticipated claims under a cost-reimbursement contract, including claims related to Gross. The USAID spokesman, who was not authorized to be named and requested anonymity to discuss the terms of the agreement, said DAI had sought $7 million. DAI did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The USAID said the settlement "avoids the cost, delay and risks of further proceedings, and does not constitute an admission of liability by either party."

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In November a federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of a $60 million suit filed against the U.S. government by Gross and his wife. They had sued for negligence, arguing that the government sent him into a situation it knew was dangerous and failed to properly train him for it. Federal courts said the government was immune from any claim arising in a foreign country.

USAID said the settlement “avoids the cost, delay and risks of further proceedings, and does not constitute an admission of liability by either party.”

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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