France: Judges close investigation into Lafarge's activities over allegations of financing of terrorism in Syria
"The investigation into Lafarge's activities in Syria is closed on the financing of terrorism aspect", 26 June 2023
The investigating judges in charge of the investigation into the activities of the Lafarge group in Syria closed the part on Thursday relating to suspicions of terrorist financing, AFP learned on Monday June 26 from sources familiar with the matter.
According to the notice of partial end of information [...], this closure concerns offenses of financing terrorism and non-compliance with an international measure restricting economic and financial relations with foreign countries, offenses punishable by the criminal court.
Other facts covered by the judicial information, complicity in crimes against humanity, a crime punishable by the assize court, and endangering the lives of others, remain under investigation.
Lafarge, now a subsidiary of Holcim, is suspected of having paid in 2013 and 2014, via its Syrian subsidiary LCS, several million euros to jihadist groups, including the Islamic State organization (IS), and to intermediaries, in order to maintain the activity of a cement factory in Syria in Jalabiya, even as the country was sinking into war.
In this context, it had maintained the activity of its Syrian employees on the site until September 2014, while its employees of foreign nationality had been evacuated in 2012.
In the judicial investigation opened in 2017, Lafarge is mainly indicted in France for complicity in crimes against humanity, financing of terrorism and endangering others.
In October, Lafarge reached an agreement with American justice, agreeing to plead guilty and pay a 778 million dollar penalty, for having made the "unthinkable choice" in 2013 and 2014 to collaborate with the "terrorist" group EI in Syria...
After procedural disputes, a hearing is to be held on September 19 at the Court of Cassation, while Lafarge is contesting these challenges.
In addition to Lafarge SA, ten individuals have been indicted in this case.