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June 10, 2014

Gates Foundation Drops Stake in Controversial Security Firm

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has fully divested from a U.K. security-services company that has been plagued by scandal at home and targeted by international campaigners for its work in the occupied Palestinian territories, Bloomberg and Reuters report.

The investment entity that manages assets for Bill Gates and the foundation disclosed in a stock filing last month that its stake in G4S had dropped below 3 percent—the level at which an investor must declare a stake in a firm. A foundation spokesman said Saturday that the philanthropy no longer held any interest in the company.

Activists have called on investors to give up shares in G4S because it works with Israeli authorities to run penal facilities in the West Bank. The company has also drawn fire in Britain for mishandling security operations at the 2012 London Olympics.

"Like other large foundations, the foundation trust evaluates its holdings regularly, both for performance and fit," said John Pinette, a Gates family spokesman. "As a result of this, the foundation trust no longer holds an investment in G4S."