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Norway revokes West Bank-linked exclusion of Africa Israel Investments

Billionaire Lev Leviev’s company readmitted to investment universe

The Norwegian Ministry of Finance has revoked the exclusions of two companies from the NOK4.5trn (€563bn) Government Pension Fund Global that had been banned over their links with construction projects in the occupied territories in the West Bank.
Africa Israel Investments (AFI) and its Danya Cebus subsidiary had been excluded in 2010 but the government, based on advice from the Council on Ethics, has lifted the ban as they are no longer involved in the activities.
The fund had sold its then NOK7.2m stake in the company, which had previously been excluded by Danske Bank at the start of 2010.
AFI is the Tel Aviv-listed holding and investment group controlled by diamond billionaire Lev Leviev.
The ministry said: “Information has been provided stating that neither Africa Israel Investments nor any of its subsidiaries are involved in the construction of settlements in the West Bank anymore, and that there are no plans for such activities in future.“Accordingly, the Council on Ethics has recommended that the exclusions be revoked.” It follows a meeting with Africa Israel in April this year and subsequent correspondence.

It’s not the first re-admittance to the fund’s investment “universe” this year. In January, BAE Systems and Finmeccanica had their nuclear weapon-based ban lifted. And FMC Corporation, excluded for buying phosphate from Western Sahara, was also readmitted after it told the ethics body that it has stopped doing it.
However, two US firms excluded in 2005 over their production of cluster munitions at the time – Alliant Techsystems and Lockheed Martin – remain excluded for producing nuclear weapon components.
Currently, the Ministry of Finance excludes 18 companies that produce weapons that violate fundamental humanitarian principles.
In May this year the Ministry excluded US company Schweitzer-Mauduit International Inc. and China’s Huabao International over tobacco production.
The full list of exclusions is available here.