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May 04, 2007

Berkshire wealth clashes with Gates mission in Sudan

The Gates Foundation is back in the spotlight for irresponsible investing:

Some of Berkshire's wealth comes from PetroChina, whose parent company supplies a large part of the money that underwrites Sudan's military %u2014 as well as the janjaweed, according to the United States and the United Nations. The infusion of Berkshire stock places the Gates Foundation in conflict with its own efforts to help victims of the Sudanese civil war.

...

"We have seen no records %u2026 that indicate PetroChina has operations in Sudan,"
Buffett said in his letter to shareholders. "The controlling shareholder of PetroChina,
CNPC, does do business in Sudan. CNPC is 100% owned by the Chinese
government, and its activities may logically be attributed to the government of China.
[But] subsidiaries have no ability to control the policies of their parent."

Nonetheless, Buffett has allowed a shareholder resolution challenging the PetroChina
holdings to be placed on the agenda for Berkshire's annual meeting Saturday in
Omaha.

Critics have said Buffett was ignoring his ability, as PetroChina's largest outside
shareholder, to pressure CNPC and the government of China into ending the support
it provides for the genocide by its oil dealings with Sudan and by providing arms to the
Sudanese government and blocking U.N. efforts to stop the killing in Darfur.

By investing in PetroChina, Buffett signaled that the status quo in Sudan was
acceptable, said Timothy Smith, president of the Social Investment Forum, an
association of more than 600 financial institutions, research companies and
foundations.


Read story at NewsCloud.

Posted by Jeff on May 4, 2007 at 01:06 PM | Permalink

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