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Comic Relief defends investment policy after BBC probe

AFP
Samantha Cameron, the wife of Prime Minister David Cameron, poses for photos after baking cakes in aid of Comic Relief, at 10 Downing Street in London, on March 5, 2013
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Samantha Cameron, the wife of Prime Minister David Cameron, poses for photos after baking cakes in aid of Comic Relief, at 10 Downing Street in London, on March 5, 2013 (AFP Photo/Stefan Rousseau)

London (AFP) - The Comic Relief charity on Monday defended its investment strategy, saying it had delivered "the greatest benefits to the most vulnerable people" after a BBC probe accused it of being unethical.

The Panorama documentary, to be aired later Tuesday, will accuse the charity of investing millions of pounds in shares of company's dealing in tobacco, alcohol and arms.

The well-known charity argues that it does not have a policy of ethical screening as the broad scope of its work would make it unfeasible.

The investigation claims the charity had £630,000 invested in arms company BAE Systems, contradicting its aims of helping "people affected by conflict".

The charity responded by saying that it did not invest directly in any company, and behaved much like other large charities and pension funds.

"To fulfil our legal obligation, Charity Commission guidelines are clear that charities are required to maximise returns on money in their care," said Comic Relief, which distributes money raised to other charities.

"Because the range of issues we support is so broad, ethical screening would significantly limit our ability to invest as well as seriously increase financial risk.

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