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No charges laid over cluster bomb funds

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/09/2016

There's not enough evidence to lay charges against KiwiSaver fund managers who indirectly invested money in companies linked to cluster weapons, police say.

Amnesty International last week week lodged a complaint with police after it was reported five default KiwiSaver funds had put money into global funds that invested in companies linked to the manufacture of cluster bombs, landmines and nuclear weapons.

The investments could have breached the Cluster Munitions Prohibition Act - breaches of which are punishable by a maximum of seven years' jail, Amnnesty said.

But police on Thursday announced there was not enough evidence to meet the criteria for a prosecution because of the structure of the way the shares were bought.

"There are significant threshold issues with regard to establishing breaches of the act," police said.

"A feature of fund management is the fact that fund managers generally buy their securities on traded markets, so these are shares traded between shareholders as opposed to providing funds to the companies that produce these weapons."

They said there was also the added issue that the funds were indirectly invested through international funds, rather than directly by New Zealand managers.

"Should there be any new evidence that comes to light this will be assessed and acted on as required."

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