KBC denies investment in controversial weapons development

KBC Groep, a Brussels, Belgium-based banking and insurance company, responded on Friday to recent reports that it is actively involved in financing the nuclear arms industry in Britain.

The Pax Christi peace movement recently published a report that mentioned KBC's involvement in financing Serco, a British company that is actively involved in the nuclear arms industry. While Serco does not actively produce the arms itself, the Belgian newspapers De Standard and De Morgen referred to the report and criticized KBC's attitude.

In response, KBC said it is legally and ethically not allowed to provide information on individual files, but it was able to state that the company is extremely reluctant to finance any activity related to weapons. The company said that since 2004 it applied a strict policy related to investments in the weapons industry.

According to the policy, KBC does not invest in companies involved in the development, assembly or trade of controversial weapons systems or their essential components. KBC said that under the applicable ethical and legal framework, anti-personnel mines, ammunition and arms containing depleted uranium, biological weapons and cluster bombs are considered to be controversial. The company said the applicable framework does not consider nuclear weapons to be controversial.