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Norges Bank to sell Atal shares
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Norwegians drop Atal over North Korea claims

Rafał Ostrowski 18 January 2018

Rafał Ostrowski


+48 22 356 25 11

Rafał Ostrowski has over 17 years’ experience as a journalist. Before joining ‘Eurobuild CEE’ five years ago, he wrote for Wydawnictwo Murator and Shopping Centre Magazine, as well as for retailnet.pl. He has also written for many newspapers and magazines as a freelancer and prepared photo-reportages. Rafał graduated from the University of Warsaw in philosophy. He also completed postgraduate studies in text editing. For ‘Eurobuild CEE’ he covers most real estate sectors, including logistics, construction, office, residential and retail. He is also in charge of the film direction for Eurobuild TV.

POLAND Norges Bank has decided to exclude Polish real estate developer Atal from the Government Pension Fund Global due to “an unacceptable risk that the company contributes to serious human rights violations”.

The alleged violations relate to Atal having employed as a subcontractor JP Construct, which employed North Korean workers from Rungrado Trading Co, a company directly controlled by that country’s regime. According to the bank the form that such contracts take leaves the workers as a vulnerable group in a de facto forced labour situation. The bank’s council of ethics drew up the allegations last August when it recommended the expulsion of Atal from the bank’s investment fund. Atal has responded by claiming that the company had not itself employed North Korean workers, but one of its many subcontractors did and that these workers stayed in large and comfortable residential homes with full access to media. The bank has determined, however, that Atal should take full responsibility for all the workers on its buildings sites and that it also bore responsibility for any human rights violations. “It would not have been possible for the North Korean regime to use workers as forced labour abroad if companies outside the country were not willing to use them,” the bank declared in its assessment.

In a statement received by Eurobuild CEE, Atal stresses that the company generally does not comment on decisions taken by its shareholders: “Every fund is entirely free to shape its own investment policy. In our view this particular decision was based on false and old insinuations sourced from media platforms that groundlessly and unjustly tarnished the good name of the company. This misleading information has already been debunked and that media has since published the correct explanation and retracted the unsubstantiated accusations. The investor was fully briefed about this.”

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