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Trader loses Greenpeace millions

Tue., June 17, 2014, midnight

AMSTERDAM – Greenpeace has suffered a $5.2 million loss on an ill-timed bet in the currency market by a well-intentioned – if reckless – employee in its finance department.

The environmental group, which is based in Amsterdam, said Monday the employee – who had bet the euro would not strengthen against other currencies in 2013, when it did – had acted beyond the limits of his authority.

Greenpeace International fired the employee, whom it did not identify, but said there was no evidence of fraud.

“Every indication is, this was done with the best of intentions but not the best of judgment,” said spokesman Mike Townsley.

He said the organization was deeply concerned that the incident would offend its supporters, and apologized.

Townsley said the employee was fired for ignoring rules, not for the loss itself, which – although sizeable compared with donor contributions – amounts to a fraction of the organization’s annual revenues of around $400 million.


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