Belgian banks 'investbillions in arms trade'

26th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 April 2004, BRUSSELS - Belgium's five biggest banks have investments worth around EUR 1.2 billion in some of the world's biggest armaments companies, a leading Flemish anti-arms trade group said on Monday.

26 April 2004

BRUSSELS - Belgium's five biggest banks have investments worth around EUR 1.2 billion in some of the world's biggest armaments companies, a leading Flemish anti-arms trade group said on Monday.

In a major new report, the group, called Netwerk Vlaanderen, said the banks - named as KBC, ING, Fortis, Dexia and Axa - had between them invested the money in 13 of the world's best-known arms companies.

The firms backed by the Belgian banks make anti-personnel mines, fragmentation bombs, depleted uranium shells and even nuclear weapons, Netwerk Vlaanderen said.

Companies cited include European defence conglomerate EADS, which makes missiles, missile defence systems, fighter planes and battle helicopters; US planemaker Boeing (fighter planes including the B52 bomber) and the world's biggest weapons producer Lockheed Martin (a US firm making nuclear weapons, weapons containing depleted uranium, F-16's and other fighter planes). 

Netwerk Vlaanderen says it wants Belgian banks to be more clear about where they invest their customers' money, so that people ethically opposed to the arms trade do not inadvertently end up bankrolling the sector.

"We want the banks to lay their cards on the table and disclose to the public which companies they are financing," said the group in a recent statement.

Monday's report is the latest study in an ongoing campaign by Netwerk Vlaanderen called 'My money. Clear conscience?'

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news

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