G4S sells Israeli business for £88m after pressure from campaigners

Company has been targeted by groups who allege it is complicit in human rights abuses

Ben Chapman
Friday 02 December 2016 17:59 GMT
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Human rights protesters at G4S' annual general meeting - the company denies campaigns influenced its decision
Human rights protesters at G4S' annual general meeting - the company denies campaigns influenced its decision (Reuters)

G4S has sold its Israeli security business after sustained pressure from human rights groups who have accused the company of complicity in human rights abuses.

The controversial security firm said it will sell its its Israeli division - which also provides prison services and equipment - to private equity company FIMI. G4S will maintain a stake in a police training facility in the country.

For years campaigners have protested G4S’ annual general meetings and led a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against the organisation.

The company said this had not influenced the decision to sell and that the move was part a wider push to concentrate on core operations and shed unprofitable contracts.

“G4S Israel is a well-managed business that will grow and prosper as part of the FIMI group providing a positive future for our 6,000 colleagues in Israel and long-term, high-quality service and support to customers operating in the Israeli market,” chief executive Ashley Almanza said.

War on Want’s Ryvka Barnard said G4S remains complicit in human rights abuses through its ownership of and investment in the facility.

“If G4S was concerned about human rights, it would leave the Israeli market completely,” she added.

The company is not the first operating in Israel to have seemingly been pushed out by sanctions movements. In September 2015, french multinational Veolia which had been similarly targeted, sold off all of its businesses in the country.

Even an Israeli company, Sodastream, moved its factory out of the country’s illegal settlements, after an advertisement for their product featuring Scarlett Johansson led Oxfam to drop her as an “ambassador”.

Foreign Office guidance warns companies of the potential reputational risk of operating in the Israel’s settlements.

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