Danish pension giant puts new investments with Macquarie on hold

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark’s largest pension fund ATP said on Wednesday it had put new investments with Macquarie Group (MQG.AX) on hold pending an investigation of the Australian company’s involvement in a dividend stripping scandal.

ATP and two other Danish pension funds earlier this year partnered with Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), the world’s largest infrastructure asset manager, to buy Danish cable and telecoms operator TDC in a $6.6 billion deal.

Macquarie said in September its incoming and outgoing chief executives were expected to be named as suspects by German prosecutors after its bank lent money to investment funds that engaged in dividend stripping.

“Had ATP been aware of the circumstances in question, ATP would not have made the investment in TDC with MIRA,” the pension fund said in a written statement to the ministry of employment published on Wednesday. ATP said it expected the investigation into dividend stripping to take several years.

Macquarie has said it had believed the practice to be legal, and that it was not involved in any such activity in Denmark. It was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

“ATP has initiated a critical dialogue with Macquarie, and ATP will not make new investments with MIRA or any other companies in the Macquarie Group before this critical dialogue and “self-cleaning” process has been completed satisfactorily,” the pension fund said.

ATP is Europe’s fourth largest pension fund with around $120 billion of assets under management and handles mandatory pensions for more than 5 million Danes.

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