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Argentina's president says government seeks criminal penalties for US company's plant closure

Two men stand next to a barricade of burning tires, meant as a supportive gesture to fellow workers who continue to work despite being laid off, outside the entrance of the R.R. Donnelley & Sons printing plant, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. About 200 workers decided to keep working until union leaders, in talks with the Labor Ministry, find a solution to reverse the plant layoffs. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

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Two men stand next to a barricade of burning tires, meant as a supportive gesture to fellow workers who continue to work despite being laid off, outside the entrance of the R.R. Donnelley & Sons printing plant, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. About 200 workers decided to keep working until union leaders, in talks with the Labor Ministry, find a solution to reverse the plant layoffs. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - The government of Argentina will seek criminal charges against representatives of a U.S.-based global printing company that abruptly shuttered its plant in the South American country, the president said Thursday.

Representatives of RR Donnelley & Sons may have sought to "create fear in the population" and undermine the economy with the plant closure and that could be a possible violation of an anti-terrorism law, President Cristina Fernandez said in a speech to announce a new housing program.

It would be the first application of the anti-terrorism law that was adopted in 2011.

Fernandez said there was no legitimate economic justification for the closure and she accused the company of collaborating with foreign investors whose decade-long legal battle with the government triggered a July 30 default.

Workers at the RR Donnelley printing plant on the Buenos Aires outskirts showed up Monday to find a note informing them the facility was closed due to an "insurmountable crisis." About 400 workers lost their jobs, although about half of them are trying to keep the plant going despite getting no pay.

A spokeswoman in the company's headquarters in Chicago did not respond to messages seeking comment.

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