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Barclays rebuked for 'tasty profits'

Thursday 5 January 2012 - by Regulation Mutters


Barclays has been nominated as this year's most shameful company for alleged excessive betting on food prices which fuels hunger and poverty, according to the World Development Movement.

The bank was shortlisted on Thursday by the WDM for the 2012 Public Eye "shame award" which aims to single out corporations involved in social and environmental scandals.

The anti-poverty group, WDM has slammed Barclays for earning up to £340m in 2010 through speculation in food "futures" markets, saying it is the UK's biggest player and has driven up world food prices.

"Barclays is essentially gambling on food prices, at the expense of millions of people who cannot afford to buy food as a result," said Amy Horton, a campaigner at the WDM.

Along with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital has developed new types of financial products that allow pension funds and other investors normally barred from commodities exchanges to speculate on food prices.

The bank's chief executive Bob Diamond admitted to the BBC in November that "bankers must become better citizens" in response to the Occupy movement.


Although Barclays is the only bank up for the award this year, other companies on the shame shortlist include Samsung and Japan's energy company Tepco. Royal Bank of Canada took the title in 2010, while Citigroup was voted into top place in 2006.

Winners will be announced on 27 January in Davos, Switzerland to coincide with the World Economic Forum.

Barclays declined to comment.



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