Lafarge pleads guilty to supporting Islamic State, to pay USD 778 Mn

Lafarge pleads guilty to supporting Islamic State, to pay USD 778 Mn

French cement manufacturer, Lafarge reportedly pleaded guilty to a U.S. claim that it had offered money to organizations that the country had labeled as terrorist groups, including the Islamic State.

For the first time in American history, a firm admitted guilt in federal court in Brooklyn to allegations of giving material support to a terrorist group. As part of the plea bargain, Lafarge, which joined Swiss-listed Holcim in 2015, committed to forfeiture and agreed to make payments totaling USD 778 million.

According to U.S. authorities, the French industrial company sent payments to the Islamic State and al Nusra Front through middlemen totaling around USD 5.92 million. The company is also accused of involvement in crimes against humanity in Paris for continuing to operate a facility in Syria after a conflict erupted there in 2011.

Sources claimed that Lafarge eventually abandoned the cement facility in September 2014. Post this, the Islamic State took control of the leftover cement and liquidated it for the equivalent of USD 3.21 million.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco stated that the companys actions represented corporate crime that had reached an all-time low and a very dark place. It cannot be business as usual when dealing with terrorism, she added.

Lafarge previously acknowledged, following an internal probe, that its Syrian business had paid armed groups to assist in protecting plant workers. However, it refuted accusations that it had participated in crimes against humanity.

According to Lafarge Chair Magali Anderson, former corporate executives willfully consented to participate in a conspiracy to make and sanction payments meant for the advantage of various armed groups in Syria from August 2013 to November 2014. The people in charge of this behavior have been expelled from the organization, she claimed, at least since 2017.

It is worth mentioning that the six anonymous Lafarge executives who had hidden this fiasco from the external auditors as well as Holcim, had been detained by French authorities.

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