Rogue Employee Costs Greenpeace $5.2M
He made bad bet on currency markets
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2014 12:06 AM CDT
The Greenpeace ship 'Arctic Sunrise' is escorted by a Russian coast guard boat, in Kola Bay at the military base Severomorsk last fall.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

(Newser) – Greenpeace is down $5.2 million thanks to an employee who used the environmental group's cash to gamble on currency markets. The worker wasn't acting for his own gain, but his reckless move left the group with a record loss after the euro strengthened instead of weakening as he had predicted, reports the AP. "Every indication is, this was done with the best of intentions but not the best of judgment," a Greenpeace spokesman says. The group's finance director says Greenpeace is not in the habit of making investments or speculating, but it is highly exposed to currency fluctations and takes out exchange contracts to protect its assets.

The worker involved has been fired and Greenpeace has issued a statement apologizing to supporters and stressing that "every possible action is being taken to avoid the possibility of such a loss ever occurring again." The group says none of its current campaigns have been affected, but since 90% of Greenpeace's funding comes from small donations of $150 or less, the damage to the trust of supporters may be its biggest loss from the financial blunder, the Guardian finds.