France’s Lafarge Pleads Guilty to U.S. Charge of Supporting ISIS

Lafarge agreed to forfeit $687m and pay a fine of $90m in its guilty plea, according to al-Jazeera.

French cement maker Lafarge has pleaded guilty to a U.S. charge that it made payments to groups designated as “terrorists” by the United States – including ISIS – in order to protect its plant in Syria, according to a court hearing.
The admission on Tuesday in a Brooklyn federal court marked the first time a company has pleaded guilty in the US to charges of providing “material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization”.
US prosecutors said Lafarge paid ISIL and al-Nusra Front, through intermediaries, the equivalent of approximately $5.92m in order to guarantee the protection of its plant in Jalabiya, which it had kept running after war broke out in Syria in 2011. The two armed groups controlled the area around the plant in 2013-2014.
Lafarge agreed to forfeit $687m and pay a fine of $90m in its guilty plea.
Lafarge eventually evacuated the cement plant in September 2014, US prosecutors said. At that point, ISIL took possession of the remaining cement and sold it for the equivalent of $3.21m, prosecutors said.
Lafarge, which became part of Swiss-listed Holcim in 2015, is also facing charges of complicity in crimes against humanity in Paris for keeping a factory running in Syria during the conflict.
The cement maker previously admitted after an internal investigation that its Syrian subsidiary paid armed groups to help protect staff at the plant. But it had denied charges that it was complicit in crimes against humanity.
Lafarge Chair Magali Anderson said in court that from August 2013 until November 2014 former company executives “knowingly and willfully agreed to participate in a conspiracy to make and authorise payments intended for the benefit of various armed groups in Syria”.
“The individuals responsible for this conduct have been separated from the company since at least 2017,” she said.


The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.


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