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BREAKING NEWS / URGENT: The State Supreme Court upholds Act 10, Voter ID, and the state's domestic partnership registry

MADISON, Wis (WSAU)  - The Wisconsin State Supreme Court upheld Act 10, the state law that limits the collective bargaining rights of state employees. The law from three years ago sparked protests at the state capital and led to the recall attempt against Governor Scott Walker. The court's ruling in favor of Act 10 was 5-2. Justice Michael Gableman wrote the lead opinion, which was also signed by Justices David Prosser, Pat Roggensack and Annette Ziegler. Justice Patrick Crooks concurre...

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Church of England still invested in payday lender

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speaks during a news conference at Lambeth Palace in London February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Neil Hall
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speaks during a news conference at Lambeth Palace in London February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) - The Archbishop of Canterbury said the Church of England still held an indirect investment in short-term loan company Wonga, even though he branded its activities "morally wrong" nine months ago.

Archbishop Justin Welby, leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans, said last year he had been embarrassed to learn that the church's pension fund had invested a relatively small sum in a U.S. venture capital firm that led Wonga's 2009 fundraising.

Shortly before that investment came to light, Welby had pledged to drive such lenders out of business by backing rival credit unions as he made a scathing attack on so-called "payday" lenders such as Wonga, which charge high interest rates on loans that are typically repaid when borrowers receive their next paychecks.

But on Sunday in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Welby said he had been unable to force the church's investment arm, the Church Commissioners, to exit the investment.

"I can't just say, 'Sell it'. I do not have the authority to do that," he told the newspaper, saying he had already urged it to get rid of the investment "several times".

Asked whether the investment arm had acted on his requests, he said:

"When I last asked, which was about a month ago, they hadn't. It's a very small holding of about 85,000 or 90,000 pounds ($151,300), which is indirectly held through about three other holdings, and apparently it is very difficult to get rid of."

The fund was working on trying to offload it, he said.

($1 = 0.5949 British Pounds)

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; editing by Jane Baird)

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