The company was reported to have paid money to Daesh militants in order to keep its cement plant working.
The plant located in the Syrian city Jalabiya was functioning from 2013 until the end of summer 2014 as a result of “agreements […] with local armed groups, including the Islamic State [Daesh],” the newspaper wrote.
According to Dauod, any activity aimed at financing a terrorist organization is punishable by law. In the case of Lafarge, however, a corresponding decision should be made by the prosecutor’s office in France or Switzerland, as the firm is a part of the Swiss group called Holcim, the legal expert said.
“The facts revealed by your colleagues from the newspaper Le Monde suggest that the company Lafarge deliberately paid — although it still must be proved — fees at checkpoints controlled by the Islamic State, and even, perhaps, made other payments in order to use or operate notorious plant to maintain its positions in Syria and, most likely, to guarantee the safety of its employees and its activities,” Dauod said.
In its press release from June 21, LafargeHolcim group clarified that Lafarge had been operating the plant from 2010 to 2014. When the war reached the area where the factory was located, the company tried to ensure the safety of its personnel, at the same time resolving the issue of the plant’s closure, the press release stated.
“Did the Syrian branch know about it? The answer is — yes. Did the the parent company in Paris, France know about it? The answer to this question seems to be positive, too. And if there is a preliminary investigation or criminal proceedings, one will need to find out whether it was done on purpose, and if so — whether the court decides that the state of emergency, in which they were, will allow to remove the charges over financing of a terrorist organization. In my opinion, this is how it looks from legal and criminal perspectives,” the legal expert stated.
The company’s press release further stated that in September 2014 the work of the factory was suspended and that all employees were evacuated, and received paid leave. The plant was shut down in September 2014 after Daesh militants had advanced toward it.