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Europe - Germany

Catholic bank owned pill shares
("BBC," August 3, 2009)

Berlin, Germany - A Roman Catholic bank in Germany has apologised after admitting it bought stocks in defence, tobacco and birth control companies.

Der Spiegel newspaper discovered the bank had invested 580,000 euros (£495,310, $826,674) in British arms company BAE Systems.

It also invested 160,000 euros in American birth control pill maker Wyeth and 870,000 euros in tobacco companies.

The bank apologised for behaviour "not in keeping with ethical standards".

Pax Bank has previously advertised ethical investment funds, specifically claiming to avoid arms and tobacco companies along with organisations that do not adhere to Catholic beliefs.

The Catholic Church has historically condemned the use of contraception, for breaking the link between sex and procreation - a view emphatically upheld by current Pope Benedict XVI.

In the past he has called birth control a "grave sin".

A spokesman for Pax Bank said: "We will rectify the mistakes immediately without negative consequences for our clients.

"Unfortunately in a few internal reviews, the critical investments in question were overlooked - we deeply regret this."

The spokesman thanked journalists for bringing the controversial investments to its attention.


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