- Cement giant Lafarge SA will pay $778 million to the US Justice Department after acknowledging it paid nearly 13 million euros to keep its Syrian cement factory running in 2013 and 2014.
- It pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material to designated foreign terrorist organisations in Syria.
- Earlier this year a French court ruled that the company was aware that much of the money had gone to finance Islamic State operations.
French cement giant Lafarge SA will pay a $778 million fine to the US Justice Department for supporting terror groups including Islamic State during the Syrian civil war, the company announced on Tuesday.
Lafarge acknowledged that it paid nearly 13 million euros ($12.8 million) to middlemen to keep its Syrian cement factory running in 2013 and 2014, long after other firms had pulled out of the country.
Lafarge SA and its defunct subsidiary Lafarge Cement Syria “have agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations in Syria,” it said.
“Lafarge SA and LCS have accepted responsibility for the actions of the individual executives involved, whose behavior was in flagrant violation of Lafarge’s Code of Conduct.
“We deeply regret that this conduct occurred and have worked with the US Department of Justice to resolve this matter.”
Earlier this year a French court ruled that the company was aware that much of the money had gone to finance Islamic State operations.
Holcim Group, the Swiss conglomerate which took over Lafarge in 2015, said the US Justice Department had cleared it of any wrongdoing.
It said it only learned of the allegations in 2016, and launched its own probe and cooperated with US justice authorities.
“None of the conduct involved Holcim, which has never operated in Syria, or any Lafarge operations or employees in the United States, and it is in stark contrast with everything that Holcim stands for,” it said in a parallel statement.
The statements came shortly before a planned press conference by Justice Department officials in New York to announcement the settlement of the longstanding case.
Shares of Holcim were temporarily suspended on the Swiss stock exchange after news of the fine emerged.