Vatican Bank officers linked to fossil fuel industry

Vatican Bank board members  have been called out by Greenpeace because of their links to the fossil fuel sector.

According to a Greenpeace Energydesk investigation, Vatican Bank board member Sir Michael Hintze is the chief executive of the private hedge fund CQS Cayman, registered on the Cayman islands.

The fund holds stocks worth $8.3 million in energy companies.

It is noted that Hintze previously maintained ties with energy sector-related companies.

Jean-Baptiste Douville de Franssu, the Vatican Bank board president, is an adviser to two funds that hold multimillion dollar shares in oil and gas companies, according to the investigation.

“One fund, Carmignac Gestion, holds stocks worth $675.2m in American company Anadarko Petroleum.

The firm was forced to pay $5.1 billion to settle a case around environmental damage caused by one its subsidiaries in 2014. Carmignac Gestion also holds stocks in Shell and Exxon,” Greenpeace said.

The Australian-born hedge fund manager is also a trustee of the right-wing think-tank of the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has a history of backing climate sceptic research. 

Hintz is reportedly a major financial backer of Nigel Lawson’s controversial climate skeptic pressure group the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), Energydesk says.

In 2012, the Guardian obtained emails showing Hintze backing the foundation.

Hintze failed to respond to requests from Energydesk to clarify his relationship with GWPF and to discuss CQS’s holdings in the energy sector.

Pope Francis warned in the encyclical that climate change threatens the environment as well as humanity.

He called for an urgent reduction in global carbon and encouraged the use of renewable energy sources. Fossil fuel is known to increase carbon emissions.

At the same time, financial power struggles inside the Vatican are ongoing, with Cardinal Pell facing tough opposition to his proposed financial reforms.


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