Jan 18 (Portal) – Citigroup Inc (CN) has discriminated against the firearms sector, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office said, making a decision that ‘has the effect’ of Texas halting Citi’s ability to conduct most municipal Bond offers to underwrite in the US state.
Republicans have increased pressure on the financial industry over environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment practices. Texas passed legislation in 2021 banning government contracts with companies that discriminate against the firearms industry.
“Citigroup has been found to have a policy that discriminates against a gun company or gun trade association,” the assistant attorney general for Texas AG’s Department of Public Finance wrote Wednesday in the letter, seen by Portal.
“Citi’s designation as an SB-19 discriminator has the effect of halting its ability to underwrite most Texas municipal bond offerings,” Paxton’s office told Portal, referring to the law.
Until further notice, The Texas AG will not approve any public securities issued on or after Wednesday in which Citigroup will purchase or guarantee the public securities, it added in the letter.
“Citi does not discriminate against the firearms sector and believes we comply with Texas law,” a spokesman for Citigroup said in a statement emailed to Portal, adding that the company will continue to work with the Texas AG office to help options to consider.
In 2018, Citigroup imposed restrictions on new retail customers selling guns and required them to pass background checks. This was followed by a Florida high school shooting in February of the same year that killed 17 people.
Bloomberg News first reported the news on Thursday.
Reporting by Lavanya Ahire and Akanksha Khushi in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Urvi Dugar and Mrinmay Dey; Edited by Bradley Perrett, Bernadette Baum and David Gregorio
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