Cement maker Lafarge absolved of ‘crimes against humanity’

Lafarge made payments to extremists to keep its Syrian plant open. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Lafarge, now part of the Franco-Swiss Lafarge-Holcim group, has been cleared by a French appeal court of crimes against humanity over its operations in Syria.  

This content was published on November 7, 2019 - 10:31

The French cement company, which merged with Switzerland’s Holcim in 2015, was indicted in June 2018 for “complicity” in crimes against humanity.  

On Thursday, the French court dropped the charge. However, the investigating chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal upheld the indictments brought against the cement company for “financing of terrorism”, “violation of an embargo” and “endangering the lives” of former employees of its Jalabiya plant. 

Lafarge is accused of having financed jihadists in Syria, including the Islamic State group, which has directed and inspired multiple deadly attacks in Europe.  

The company is suspected of having paid nearly €13 million (CHF15 million) via a subsidiary to intermediaries and armed groups, including the Islamic State organisation. The payments were reportedly made in 2013 and 2014 to maintain production in its Jalabiya plant, while the country was sinking into war. 

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