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Article

2 Mar 2017

Author:
AFP

Syria: LafargeHolcim admits to financing armed groups for protection of cement plant operations

"French cement giant admits ‘unacceptable practices’ at Syria plant", 2 Mar 2017

LafargeHolcim, a French cement maker, admitted on Thursday that it had paid armed groups in Syria to continue its local operations...[T]he company says it “provided funds to third parties to work out arrangements” with a “number of armed groups, including sanctioned parties”.  The company explains that “different armed factions controlled or sought to control the areas around the plant”...Payments were therefore made to various armed groups “in order to maintain operations and ensure safe passage of employees and supplies to and from the plant”.  “In hindsight, the measures required to continue operations at the plant were unacceptable,”...In 2016 French daily Le Monde reported that Lafarge negotiated with Syrian armed groups...The report was followed later that year by a lawsuit that was launched against Lafarge by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the French anti-corruption NGO Sherpa, and a group of Syrians...The French government also filed a legal complaint against Lafarge for buying oil in Syria to power its Jalabiya factory. Sourcing local oil to operate the plant would have been a violation of EU sanctions...

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