Gates Foundation Sells Stake in U.K. Prison Operator G4S

The Gates Foundation Asset Trust, the entity that manages the investments for the $40.2 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has liquidated its entire stake in G4S Plc (GFS), the world’s biggest security-services provider.

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

The Crawley, England-based company has attracted criticism for its contracts with the Israel prison system. The U.K.’s Guardian newspaper said in an editorial on June 4 that G4S should “end the corporation’s participation in Israel’s brutal occupation” in the West Bank.

Since 2011, G4S has conducted a series of reviews in relation to its business in Israel, according to the company’s website. Its latest investigation concluded there was “no plausible case against G4S on the ground of alleged war crimes commited by Israel.”

A regulatory filing on May 28 showed that the stake, held by the trust and Bill Gates’s investment company, Cascade Investment LLC, had fallen below three percent. The billionaire’s stake was first disclosed last June, when Cascade’s holding crossed the 3 percent threshold for the first time.

Adam Mynott, a spokesman for G4S, declined to comment.

Gates oversees an $81.7 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is almost $14 billion richer than Mexico’s Carlos Slim, the world’s second richest person.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Metcalf in London at tmetcalf7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Newcomb at pnewcomb2@bloomberg.net Robert LaFranco

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