Lafarge paid 13 million euros to armed groups to keep operating in Syria, rights group say
French cement group Lafarge paid close to 13 million euros ($15.2 million) to armed groups including Islamic State militants to keep operating in Syria from 2011-2015, human rights lawyers said on Tuesday.
...The lawyers for rights group Sherpa said a large part of the money went directly or indirectly into the pockets of Islamic State and that payments lasted until well after the closure of Lafarge’s Jalabiya plant in September 2014.
...“As part of the inquiry, the precise figure retained is 12,946,000 euros paid by Lafarge between 2011 and 2015 to terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State,”
...Former LafargeHolcim CEO Eric Olsen resigned in April after the company admitted it had paid armed groups to keep a factory operating in Syria. His lawyer has said Olsen will appeal against being put under investigation.
Sherpa and other human rights groups in France as well as the French Finance Ministry have filed suit against Lafarge.
Sherpa wants the company to be placed under formal criminal investigation, like Olsen, and also accuses Lafarge of not cooperating with authorities and trying to hide important elements from the investigation.
...Being placed under formal investigation in France means that prosecutors believe they have “serious or consistent evidence” that could result in prosecution.