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Lafarge Cement found guilty of paying ISIS for terrorist group killing Westerners

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A view of a Lafarge Cement factory in Paris, France, on September 8, 2021.

Julien Mattia | Anadolu Agency | Getty Pictures

Lafarge SA It agreed to pay $777.8 million on Tuesday to settle a US federal criminal charge involving the French company’s payments to another terrorist group to operate a cement plant operating in Syria.

From August 2013 to October 2014, ISIS and the Al Nusra Front were paid around $17 million, even as the terrorist organization kidnapped and killed Westerners.

“Lafarge admitted his shocking guilt and took responsibility for it,” US Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement. “No institution has been accused of providing financial support and resources to foreign terrorist organizations before.”

Peace’s office said Lafarge Cement Syria executives purchased the materials they needed for the cement plant in northern Syria’s Jalabiyeh region from ISIS-controlled suppliers and paid monthly “donations” to ISIS and the ANF so employees, customers and suppliers could pass through checkpoints in the area. herb.

Lafarge Cement Syria “finally agreed to pay ISIS based on the volume of cement that LCS sells to its customers, which Lafarge and LCS executives liken to paying ‘taxes,'” Peace’s office said in a statement.

An indictment against Lafarge and his defunct Syrian subsidiary was filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, accusing them of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, Lafarge pleaded guilty and was convicted at a trial there.

No person has been charged in the case, but officials said the investigation is ongoing.

“In the midst of a civil war, Lafarge made the unthinkable choice to put money into the hands of ISIS, one of the most barbaric terrorist organizations in the world, in order to continue selling cement,” Baris said.

“Lafarge did this not just in exchange for permission to operate the cement plant – which would be bad enough – but also to use its relationship with ISIS to gain economic advantage and to ask for ISIS’s help to hurt Lafarge’s competition in exchange for a cut in Lafarge’s sales. He did it for you,” said Barış.

Acquired by Lafarge, Switzerland-based holcim in 2015.

Lafarge said in a statement, “Lafarge SA and [Lafarge Cement Syria] They took responsibility for the actions of the respective executives whose conduct clearly violated Lafarge’s Code of Conduct.

“We are deeply saddened by the occurrence of this behavior and have worked with the US Department of Justice to resolve this issue,” Lafarge said.

Holcim told CNBC that he supports Lafarge’s plea deal with the DOJ.

“It does not in any way include Holcim, which does not operate in Syria, or any Lafarge operations or employees in the United States, and is in stark contrast to everything Holcim stands for,” Holcim said in a statement.

“DoJ, former Lafarge SA and [Lafarge Cement Syria] Holcim concealed this behavior from Holcim and also from outside auditors before and after purchasing Lafarge SA,” said Holcim.

“When Holcim learned of the allegations from media reports in 2016, Holcim proactively and voluntarily conducted an extensive investigation led by a major US law firm and overseen by the Board of Directors. Lafarge SA and LCS executives involved in these events.”

In 2018, Lafarge was accused by French authorities of complicity in crimes against humanity in connection with payments from ISIS.

In a statement Tuesday, Lafarge said he “continues to fully cooperate with the French authorities in their investigations into conduct and will defend himself against any judicial action he deems unfair in the French proceedings”.

Holcim said in a statement that the Department of Justice has determined that it is not necessary to appoint an independent compliance monitor for Lafarge as Holcim has effective compliance and risk management controls to detect potential similar behavior.

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