Deutsche denies divestment from Israel's Elbit

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank DBKGn.DE on Sunday denied Israeli media reports that it had divested a small stake in defense contractor Elbit Systems ESLT.O, saying the bank did not own any shares to sell.

Newspapers quoted Deutsche CEO Josef Ackermann as telling an investors' conference last Thursday in Frankfurt that the bank had sold all its shares in Elbit ESLT.TA, Israel's largest publicly traded defense firm. The newspapers said the decision stemmed from protests by two pro-Palestinian groups opposed to Israel's security wall in the West Bank.

But Deutsche spokesman Ronald Weichert said the bank did not have a stake in Elbit to divest.

He said when non-government organizations referred to a Nasdaq report in which Deutsche reported 50,000 shares, or 0.1 percent, of Elbit worth some $2.6 million on March 31, “these were trading positions or positions held on behalf of clients.”

Elbit’s Nasdaq-listed shares closed at $51.95 on Friday, down 27 percent from a year-high reached last August. Its Tel Aviv shares were up 1.6 percent at 200.4 shekels in afternoon trading, outpacing gains of 0.5 percent on the broader bourse.

($1 = 3.83 shekels)

Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Hans Peters