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Environment

Greenpeace loses big on international currency markets

The environmental organization Greenpeace has confirmed that it has lost millions on the international currency markets. The charity has apologized to donors for the incident.

A gamble gone wrong on worldwide currency markets lost Greenpeace International around 3.8 million euros ($5.15 million), the environmental charity announced on Sunday. Officials with the organization said the loss was caused by an employee acting on his own, without receiving the necessary approval to do so. They also said there was no indication of corruption.

"Nothing suggests at this point that he acted for personal gain, it seems to be a terrible miscalculation," Mike Townsley, communications director at the organization's head office in the Netherlands told the AFP news agency.

Townsley said that while the employee, who has not been named by the charity, had gone "above his authority" in finalizing the contract, such deals were not out of the ordinary for international charities.

"It is common practice for organizations like ours, with a worldwide presence," the Greenpeace spokesman said, adding that "we would be too exposed to currency fluctuations and risk to lose a lot of money."

Campaigns not affected

Townsley also said no Greenpeace campaign would be affected by the loss.

"We would like to apologize to donors," Townsley said. "We will do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn't happen again."

The international environmental organization, which was established in 1971, is known for its sometimes militant campaigns, most recently for one against drilling for oil in the Arctic.

Greenpeace International is responsible for transactions involving the organization's 40 national and regional offices.

pfd/kms (AFP, dpa)

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