French Bank BNP Paribas – of which the Belgian State is one of the most important shareholders – has been found to have intense commercial relations with the GEO Group, one of the biggest players in migrant incarceration in the USA, De Standaard revealed on Thursday.
American migrant detention centres are run by the private sector and handled mainly by two players: GEO Group and CoreCivic.
Documents submitted to the financial regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show that BNP Paribas has done business with GEO for several years.
The bank is particularly closely involved in various GEO Group bond issues. In addition, a bank subsidiary, BNP Paribas Arbitrage, had holdings, in the first quarter of the year, of some 853,000 USD worth of GEO Group shares. BNP Paribas is also mentioned as a lender in GEO annual reports in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
The detention centres have faced criticism because of poor conditions within them.
This would go against the aim of the bank, as shown by its internal charter of human rights, where it says it is committed to “avoid direct and indirect contributions to the violations of human rights”.