According to a batch of official French documents obtained by Turkish Anadolu news agency, Lafarge representatives have held multiple meetings with domestic, foreign and military intelligence services during the Syrian conflict. The French spy agencies were accused of having used the company’s relationship with Islamic State (IS, Daesh, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and other militant groups to keep up to date with the events on the ground in Syria. They also refrained from warning the cement maker that its ties with terrorists were a crime, according to the agency.
Lafarge is blamed for paying almost €13 million ($15.3 million) to IS and other armed groups to make sure its plant in northern Syria remained operational after the fighting in the country erupted in 2011. Rights groups, which brought claims against the company, alleged that this money had been used to facilitate the movement of staff and goods through terrorist checkpoints. Lafarge reportedly also purchased oil and raw materials from the militants, while supplying them with cement that they used to build fortifications and underground tunnels.
The plant in Jalabiya, some 150km (95 miles) northeast of Aleppo, had eventually fallen into the hands of IS in 2014. It forced the company to leave the country and evacuate foreign staff, while its Syrian employees had to stay and work at the facility.
On Tuesday, France’s supreme appeals Court of Cassation ruled that the charges of “complicity in crimes against humanity” should remain against Lafarge, overturning a decision by a lower court to dismiss them. The cement maker also faces accusations of financing terrorism, violating an EU embargo and endangering the lives of others over its activities in Syria.