BlackRock 'strongly condemns' Paris office raid
BlackRock's Paris offices have been targeted again on 10 February in the morning by alleged ecologist and anti-capitalism activists, including the Extinction Rebellion and Youth for Climate France movements. Videos posted on Twitter show the total wreckage of the asset manager's French bureau. 17 individuals, including four minors, have been arrested on the ground of participation to an undeclared protest, deterioration and intentional violence against the building's head of security, AFP reported, citing a police source.
In a statement, the company expressed its "strongest condemnation of the violent intrusion and acts of vandalism" that took place in its Paris offices. "These acts, like all other attempts to intimidate our collaborators having occurred for many weeks, are unacceptable and intolerable," BlackRock said. Also the firm recalled its commitment towards more sustainability in its portfolios through the recent letter sent by its CEO Larry Fink to CEOs of companies it invests and to clients.
Various anarchist symbols and slogans have been tagged on the walls, including "BlackRock murderer", "Our planet, your crime" or "You steal our parents' pension and you ruin the planet", while a number of documents have been thrown to the floor. Also all awards that BlackRock had been granted by French financial media over the last few years have been tagged and junked. In a statement, Youth For Climate France said BlackRock is "not a model of holiness" regarding environmental protection. The organisation added that by "attacking" BlackRock, it is "tackling capitalism".
Avec ses années d'expérience, #BlackRock a remporté de nombreux prix, tels que le "Prix spécial Gestion-Fortune", ou encore le "Investor awards".— Là-bas si j'y suis (@LabasOfficiel) February 10, 2020
Les militants écologistes mettent toutes ces récompenses à la poubelle. #Avenirenfeu #greve10fevrier
images : @T_Bouhafs pic.twitter.com/6UkfpNmIwb
BlackRock's Paris office had been raided by union protesters from French railway company SNCF and Paris public transport company last 7 January. However, at that time, the protesters did not penetrate into the asset manager's offices.
The $7trn US asset management giant faces adverse publicity since the end of 2019 following claims from various French radical left-wing medias - features in L'Humanité and Mediapart as well as a documentary released on Franco-German channel Arte - and political leaders over its alleged will to impose private funded pension regime in France. The manager is also blamed for its purported lobbying over the French government which is currently seeking to complete an unprecedented local retirement regime reform.
In addition, BlackRock France's chairman Jean-François Cirelli has been criticised after he was awarded the French state's Légion d'honneur, the most prestigious distinction granted by the French authorities.
France does not seem to be the only European country where the US asset manager is having tough times. In Germany, Friedrich Merz, a member of the German conservative political party CDU targeting the presidency of the movement, announced last week that he will step down from his role of chairman of the supervisory board at BlackRock Deutschland to get more involved in local politics. He is since then facing some backclash on social networks too primarily because of his ties with the US manager and the 2018 police search of BlackRock's Munich offices in the "Cu-mex" scandal.