Banks active in Belgium invest 15 billion euros in nuclear weapons
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    Banks active in Belgium invest 15 billion euros in nuclear weapons

    Seven banks active in Belgium have invested 17.6 billion U.S. dollars (about 15 billion euros) in the world’s 20 largest nuclear arms producers, according to a report by the Belgian Coalition against Nuclear Weapons, the Fairfin NGO and the Bank Scan website (bankwijzer.be). These investments represent an increase of 1.5 billion euros compared to a preceding study concluded in March, the report indicates.

    The “largest investor among the banks active in Belgium” is BNP Paribas, with 9 billion dollars invested in the 20 biggest nuclear arms producers. It is followed by the Deutsche Bank, which invested a little more than 7 billion dollars in 17 producers. Since then the bank has tightened its rules, but there are still flaws, the report stresses.

    ING had 900 million dollars invested in seven producers.

    At the CBC, a policy of exclusion against nuclear weapons has been “strongly adjusted” since 1 July, a fact lauded by the authors of the document. The CBC has placed a large number of producers on its black list.

    The other investors are the Degroof Petercam assets management company, Delen Private Bank and Treetop Asset Management. In the meantime, Delen is reported to have sold off its nuclear-arms investments while Petercam is said to have divested part of its investments in this area.

    Belfius is no longer on the list but the study’s authors recommend that it strengthen its policy since there is still a risk that such investments may be made.

    The report advises the banks to follow a clear, unambiguous policy and publish a black list. It also said the Belgian Government should broaden the law on controversial arms financing to include nuclear weapons and “take up its responsibilities” as a shareholder in BNP Paribas and Belfius.

    On the occasion of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, various organisations organised actions on Wednesday outside the headquarters of BNP Paribas Fortis.

    Maria Novak

    The Brussels Times