PARIS – A former CEO of the French Lafarge Group (now merged with the Swiss corporation Holcim) was charged late Friday night by French judges probing the cement-manufacturing company’s activities at its Syrian plant and the alleged financing of Jihadist groups, according to French judicial sources.
Former Lafarge group CEO, Bruno Lafont, and his former deputy general director for operations, Christian Herrault, were charged with the “financing of a terrorist organization” and for “endangering the lives of others,” according to the judicial source.
Both individuals were questioned and were finally released subject to judicial control and on bail.
These arrests increase the number of Lafarge and merged LafargeHolcim corporation executives arrested in the past week to a total of six, all charges are related to the corporate strategy of maintaining their Jalabiya facilities in Syria operational in a region under the Jihadist group’s control
Among the six executives, also charged is former LafargeHolcim top executive, Eric Olsen.
The French-Swiss corporation is charged with also purchasing oil supplies to Islamic State (IS), in contravention of the EU embargo and resorting to a middleman between July 2012 and Sept 2014 to hand-over IS around 4.7 million euros ($5.6 million) in protection money to maintain its Syrian subsidiary – Lafarge Cement Syria (LCS) – Jalabiya plant open.
Lafarge remained in Syria two years longer than other French companies as IS extended its extremist Caliphate across Syria.