Spain's Santander bank is indirectly and directly involved in weapons production and exports, according to Miquel Gonza'lez from the organisation Justicia y Paz (Justice and Peace.)
In a recent speech to fellow-shareholders of the bank he listed the investments that Santander has in military companies:
"Santander bank owns 23% of MaxamCorp Holding through its hedge fund Vista Capital. This company owns Explosivos Alaveses (Expal) among others.Expal only manufactures bombs and explosives and had been producing cluster bombs until recently, a type of bomb now illegal in Spain.Also, Santander bank owns 14% of CESCE, an agency that insures exports, which includes arms exports.
As stated in the "GuÃa de Comercio", in April 2008 Santander bank (along with others) gave a ¬554 million loan to finance two CASA-EADS contracts with the Brazilian Air Force. These contracts involved the sale of twelve C-295 airplanes and an upgrade of eight P-3 airplanes. This export finance operation was one of the largest of the last few years."
Mr. BotÃn, a Santander Bank spokesman replied:
"These companies are highly technological ones. We run all kind of checks when they come to us and I can tell you that they fulfil regulations and international agreements in terms of manufacturing, sale and exports and in terms of the Dublin Convention. They also fulfil the Santander bank criteria for approval as one of our clients"
Santander bank also has stakes in other finance houses outside Spain and Portugal, including Britain's Abbey National as well as in Latin America and the USA.
Justice and Peace is a religious-based organization in Catalonia that has worked over the last forty years for the fundamental human rights of individuals and groups.
Brett Hetherington is a freelance writer and teacher living in Catalonia, northern Spain. Some of his work can be found in The Australian Journalism Review, Barcelona Metropolitan, Catalonia Today, Reportage magazine and the Costa Brava Resident.