Greenpeace Loses 3.8 Million Euros in Failed Currency Wager

Add Greenpeace International to the ranks of losers in the $5.3 trillion-a-day global foreign exchange market.

The Amsterdam-based nonprofit organization said it lost 3.8 million euros ($5.2 million) last year after an employee bet that the euro wouldn’t strengthen against other currencies, Greenpeace said on its website. Greenpeace, which runs environmental campaigns in more than 40 countries, didn’t name the employee, who worked in its international finance unit and has been relieved of his position.

“We are obviously very embarrassed and we are apologetic,” said Mike Clark, interim executive director of Greenpeace USA, in a telephone interview from Washington. “Mistakes do happen and we will make sure something like this will not happen again.”

Greenpeace said it entered into contracts last year to buy foreign currency at a fixed exchange rate while the euro was gaining in strength. This resulted in a loss against a range of other currencies. The euro rose 4.2 percent against the dollar in 2013.

The organization said it didn’t find evidence of fraud and will conduct an independent audit into the employee’s actions.

The loss added to Greenpeace’s 6.8-million-euro 2013 budget deficit. Greenpeace said it had income of 72.9 million euros in 2013 out of a global budget of about 300 million euros.

Greenpeace said it is funded with many different currencies and valuations change rapidly. The nonprofit said it will make changes to planned infrastructure projects, and won’t reduce spending on its core campaigns on environmental change.

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