KBC Belgium and KBL European Private Bankers S.A. Luxembourg, and Open Secrets, and CALS
Lead NCPLuxembourg
Supporting NCP(s)Belgium
DescriptionSpecific instance alleging a non-observance of the Guidelines by the banks, KBL European Private Bankers S.A. and KBC Belgium.
Theme(s)General policies, Disclosure
Date26 Apr 2018
Host country(ies)South Africa
Industry sectorFinancial and insurance activities
StatusNot accepted

Read the initial assessment issued by the Luxembourg NCP – 28 June 2019

Read the initial assessment issued by the Belgian NCP – 24 June 2019

On 26 April 2019, the Luxembourg NCP and Belgian NCP received a specific instance from two South African NGOs, Open Secrets and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), alleging that two banks, KBC (Belgium) and KBL (Luxembourg), did not observe the OECD Guidelines.

The specific instance claims that from 1977 to 1994, the banks, which at the time were sister companies in the Almanij holding company, aided the South African pro-apartheid government in implementing a money-laundering network that allowed the South African government to illegaly purchase arms, despite mandatory United Nations arm sanctions. The submitters requested:

1. A public apology by KBC and KBL to the South African government and people for having supported the apartheid regime and for having breached the arms embargo;

2. Punitive action against the two banks;

3. An acknowledgement of a breach of the OECD Guidelines;

4. The implementation of a monitoring mechanism on a European level to ensure that the banks are not accomplices of human rights violations in relation to their activities.

The Luxembourg and Belgian NCPs split the specific instance, which resulted in the Luxembourg NCP handling the specific instance related to KBL, while the Belgian NCP managed the case concerning KBC.

On 24 June 2019, the Luxembourg NCP, concluded its initial assessment deciding to not accept the case for further examination as the case would not contribute to the purposes and the effectiveness of the Guidelines, and because the NCP could not handle the requests expressed by the submitters, as they exceed the role and power normally associated with the NCP’s mandate.