Mar 1, 2020
Billionaire Chris Hohn threatens to sue coal-backing banks
"Banks must stop the financing of new coal projects as a matter of urgency," said Sir Christopher, who wrote the letters in his capacity as co-founder of the Children's Investment Fund Foundation. The letters ask the three banks to publicly disclose their coal loan exposures and to re-evaluate the risks of financing fossil-fuels projects. "Failing to phase out coal financing exposes banks to an increasing risk of economic loss, reputational harm and litigation. Chairmen and boards of directors could be sued for breaching their fiduciary duty. My reputation as an activist is well known and we are able to fund litigation," said Sir Christopher. The Bank of England, European Central Bank and Network for Greening the Financial System, an association of regulators that includes China's central bank, have also received letters from Sir Christopher asking them to instruct commercial banks to increase the risk weighting of coal loans. "Regulators cannot allow banks to hide coal loans and the totally unrealistic risk weightings being used. Using a 250 per cent risk weighting would make new and existing coal loans uneconomic," said Sir Christopher.
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