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Deutsche Bank still invests in producers of cluster munitions

CDU/CSU and FDP do not want to agree in the German Bundestag to a law banning investment in arms breaching international law.

(Berlin 21/03/2012) – Latest researches by FACING FINANCE and Profundo prove ongoing business relations of German financial service providers with producers of cluster munitions amounting to almost 1,6 billion Euro. According to the results of the investigation, nearly 90 % of these businesses are carried out by the Deutsche Bank Group.

On November 9, 2011 Deutsche Bank announced in public to aim at abandoning business relations with cluster munitions manufacturers. Afterwards, on February 2, 2012, Deutsche Bank chief executive Josef Ackermann confirmed this, emphasizing to the ARD-Tagesschau (German newscast) again that ‘…the Deutsche Bank backed out of investments in cluster munitions…’

But reality seems different: after declaring the withdrawal on November 9, 2011, the Deutsche Bank Group closed bond and credit businesses with cluster munitions producers amounting to at least 126 million euro and held almost 7,5 million shares  from these companies.

Thomas Küchenmeister from FACING FINANCE condemned the Deutsche Bank conduct, ‘It seems cynical, only one day after Josef Ackermann’s declaration of the withdrawal (February 3, 2012) on the press conference of the Deutsche Bank to deal in credits at a height of 47,5 million euro to the US cluster munitions manufacturer L3 Communications’ and asked for a real and transparent withdrawal as well as stopping to delude shareholders and the public.

Researches by FACING FINANCE and Profundo prove current involvement of German financial service providers in the past two years. They amount to nearly 450 million euro, while since 2007 ongoing credit and bond businesses account for 1,15 billion euro. Besides Deutsche Bank, also other German commercial banks are involved, however, to a lesser and decreasing extent.

‘Meanwhile, important German financial service providers reacted to the civil-societal criticism and approved self-commitment, which excludes investment in cluster munitions producers. Many stick to this commitment or have at least reduced their engagement.’ explained Barbara Happe from urgewald. Among these are the Commerzbank, Unicredit Group/Hypovereinsbank, numerous regional banks (WestLB AG, LBBW Invest, BayernInvest) as well as the investment company of the Sparkassen, DekaInvestment, the Deutsche Bank affiliate DWS-Europe and the Allianz Global Investors Europe.

‘Despite the partial and voluntary abandonment by several financial service providers we need legal certainty in terms of a legitimate ban on investment in cluster munitions’, Thomas Küchenmeister demanded, indicating to the negative example of the Deutsche Bank Group and partially incomplete self-commitments in the German banking industry.

FACING FINANCE claims, against the background of the research results and with reference to the Swiss legal situation, from the German ministries and authorities in charge, an examination whether the currently valid version of the War Weapons Control Act already makes investment in cluster munitions punishable. Paragraph 18a of the War Weapons Control Act from June 6, 2009, prohibits funding the development and manufacturing of anti-personnel mines or cluster munitions. A request, currently brought in by oppositional parties, asks for a specification of this paragraph, so that it also includes a ban on investing in cluster munitions. SPD, Grüne/Bündnis 90 and DIE LINKE, thus, take up the claim made by FACING FINANCE and urgewald from December 2010, which were repeated at an information meeting in the German Bundestag on September 22, 2011.

In the forefront of the ballot, CDU/CSU and FDP already announced they would not approve the motion in the German Bundestag and, therefore, not approve a legal prohibition in investment in cluster munitions.