Speeches at Santander Bank shareholders meeting 2012

Written by Centre Delàs on . Posted in Indústria i comerç d'armes

Jordi Calvo's speech at the Santander Bank shareholders meeting of 2012 about arms investments of this bank.

Good morning Mr. President, members of the Board of Directors, ladies and gentlemen shareholders. My name is Jordi Calvo Rufanges, member of the Delàs Study Centre for Peace of Justícia i Pau. I speak to you on behalf of the campaign “Banco Santander without arms”, promoted by SETEM, the ODG and the organisation to which I belong. I also speak on behalf of dozens of shareholders who have delegated their representation in this assembly to the campaign “Banco Santander without arms” through 220,000 shares.

You must know our campaign, as this is the fourth consecutive year that we have participated in Santander’s annual shareholders meeting. Our objective is the same today as it was the first day. To stand before you to denounce the media and public opinion which we consider a part of your business that should not be happening to infringe on the most fundamental rights of the weakest people of this world. We refer to the fact that some of your business ventures are so harmful that they even favour armed violence –that is, death, destruction and suffering– in the over thirty scenarios each year in which there is armed confrontation.

We remind you that our work method is not based on slander or defamation of your institution. We are institutions dedicated to investigation and raising of awareness to achieve a better world, where each person lives their life in liberty, dignity and equal opportunity. Our charges are supported by real data, which you can consult in your balance sheets and reports and that is accessible through databases that all citizens have access to.

We have therefore produced a report this year named “Armed banking. The banks’ explosive investments”, in which we have compiled the information that we have gathered over the last few years about the connections of the banks in the Spanish State that deal in the arms trade.

We include the financial institutions in the arms trade because the military-industrial sector comprises diverse actors amongst whom you, with your financial support, play a key role. Without financial support there would be many less arms, and as such much less violence would take place in armed confrontations, in wars. Indeed, the Spanish weapons manufacturers have an average indebtedness ratio of 73%.

The report to which I refer shows that Santander is a very relevant player in the arms trade. The sum of all Santander’s contributions to the industry that produces and commercialises arms reaches 1020 million Euros, a horrifying amount, when we speak about arms and their consequences for people.

There are many ways in which you aid the continual increase of the amount of weapons in the world. Let’s see how far your participation reaches in one of these.

Santander has share participation in at least one Spanish arms company, Amper, which we can value at 847,872 Euros, almost a million. Santander has given credit and loans of 750 million Euros to seven arms production companies and has issued bonds, shares and promissory notes for no less than 150 million Euros more in the arms industry. Furthermore, Santander has offered its clients investment funds in which it has invested almost 100 million Euros, in 25 different operations. Some of these investment funds have commercial names, which we will remind you of, so that the clients of Santander know what you offer them when you say “your savings could be more profitable if you put them in this fund”. Santander has dozens of armed investment funds, amongst which we can name: Banif Dividendo Europa, Santander Premium UK, Santander North American, SA Management UK, Banesto Bolsas Europeas.

As if this wasn’t enough, Santander seems to also benefit from arms exports, which need its mediation and support. In fact, the only country which publishes the financing of its arms exports, Italy, in the reports of its Finance Ministry, shows Santander in the list of banks that finance the export of Italian arms. In how many other countries might you be financing arms exports?

All this data has resulted in the ranking of armed banking, available at bancaarmada.org, where we can check in which disgraceful position each bank is found. It is for this reason that we want to present you with this “Banco Santader without arms” diploma for being the second most armed bank in Spain.

Tell me Mr. Emilio Botín, do you want to remain one of the most armed banks of Spain and of the world? Is this the business model you display? Is this what Santander wants to become, a bank that enriches itself through the suffering and pain of others that manufacture arms.

Tell me ladies and gentlemen shareholders, members of the Board of Directors and, most of all, you Mr. Botín, how do you sleep at night knowing where your money comes from?

Thank you for your attention