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Palestinian groups make criminal complaint over ISIF investments


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The Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), Sadaka – the Ireland Palestine Alliance and independent Palestinian group Al-Haq have joined forces to make the complaint against the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

In March, ISIF stated that it had direct investments in 11 companies on a 2020 UN database of businesses that have direct ties to these settlements. These investments totalled approximately €4.2m at the end of last year.

Last month, the wealth fund, which is funded by taxpayers, said it had decided to divest from six of these investments which had a total value of €2.95m.

The complaint made by the human rights organisations calls for any revenue generated by commercial activity supporting these illegal settlements, as well as the ongoing war in Gaza, to be described as “proceeds of war.”

GLAN, Sadaka and Al-Haq are now urging the Criminal Assets Bureau to apply proceeds of crime and anti-money laundering legislation to this commercial activity in what it describes as a first-of-its kind complaint.

The complaint outlines how the organisations believe ISIF to be liable under existing legislation. It is calling on the Criminal Assets Bureau to seize revenue obtained through these investments under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

This includes the €2.95m from the proceeds of the sale of the six investments earlier this year, the complaint said.

It is also calling for the fund to be prosecuted for handling the proceeds of crime under the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act.

GLAN, Sadaka and Al-Haq have written directly to ISIF to ask the fund to divest from the remaining five investments. They include Booking Holdings, Expedia Group and Tripadvisor, as well as Bezeq Israel Telecommunications and Motorola.

In response to the complaint, an ISIF spokesman told the Irish Independent that the fund “constructs its portfolio and invests in accordance with all applicable laws.”

GLAN, Sadaka and Al-Haq has also called for banks, accountancy firms and law firms to be found in breach of their own due diligence obligations under anti-money laundering legislation related to client companies operating in these illegal settlements.

“This complaint should serve as a warning to investors, banks, lawyers and accountants of the risks stemming from commercial activity in Israel’s illegal settlements, which have long been flagged by governments,” GLAN senior lawyer Gerry Liston said.

Al-Haq general director Shawan Jabarin said it was “imperative” that the Irish government carries out “an immediate action plan to cut all of Ireland’s economic ties profiting from this heinous crime.”

“ISIF’s investments in companies which profit from the systematic dispossession of Palestinians in the West Bank and genocidal slaughter of Gazans are not just morally reprehensible,” added Sadaka chairperson Éamonn Meehan.

“As our complaint demonstrates, they are also clearly illegal under existing law. ISIF must now rid itself of all remaining investments in these companies and every euro it has derived from them.”

According to the most recently published NTMA annual report, the total value of ISIF’s portfolio at the end of 2022 stood at €15bn.

Around €5.2bn was invested in the fund’s global portfolio.

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