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1 year on since Anadolu Agency uncovers links between French cement giant and Daesh/ISIS

Documents unveiled that Lafarge provided funds, cement to Daesh/ISIS terror group in Syria, with French intelligence fully aware of situation

Behlul Cetinkaya  | 06.09.2022 - Update : 06.09.2022
1 year on since Anadolu Agency uncovers links between French cement giant and Daesh/ISIS


A year has passed since Anadolu Agency obtained documents revealing that France's intelligence agencies were fully aware of ties between the Daesh/ISIS terror group and French cement giant Lafarge.

Ahead of a decision by a French court on Sept. 7 last year, which paved the way for Lafarge to be indicted for "complicity in crimes against humanity" in Syria, Anadolu Agency published the documents belonging to the French intelligence.

The documents showed that French intelligence agencies used Lafarge's network of relations, its cooperation with terror groups in Syria, and its contacts to maintain its operations and get news from the region.

They also revealed that the French intelligence bodies did not warn the company that its actions broke the law.

According to official French documents, relations between Lafarge and intelligence agencies on this matter began on Jan. 22, 2014, when the company’s security director Jean-Claude Veillard sent an email to the Interior Ministry's intelligence directorate.

Veillard, in the email, said the company needed to maintain ties with "local actors" to be able to continue its operations in Syria. Pointing to the negative news that appeared in the media about the company, he asked whether its executives and headquarters were under threat.

The intelligence officer, in response, conveyed to Velliard that they would address the issue at a certain date in the future.

Lafarge is a French industrial company that specializes in cement, concrete, and construction aggregates. They were accused of paying almost €13 million ($13.68 million) to foreign groups there, including the terrorist group ISIS/Daesh, to maintain their factory presence in the city of Jalabiya in northern Syria during the civil war, as well as of providing them with cement.

French intelligence knowledge of Lafarge providing cement to Daesh/ISIS

The details of sending cement to the Daesh/ISIS terrorist organization were discussed in a Sept. 1, 2014 correspondence between Veillard, Lafarge's security director, and the intelligence of the French Interior Ministry.

In one instance in the correspondence, the French intelligence asked Lafarge to give "more details about the cement provided to Daesh" -- evidence of officials' awareness of the relations between the company and the terror group.

Some of the documents obtained by Anadolu Agency also indicate that there were more than 30 meetings between Lafarge and the French domestic, foreign, and military intelligence services between 2013 and 2014 alone.

With the cement that was supplied, Daesh/ISIS is known to have constructed fortified shelters and tunnel networks to help shore up their position against the US-led coalition.

According to French media reports, Lafarge also supplied materials and fuel to the terrorist organization so that the company could continue operations in the northern region of Jalabiya in Syria.

It was also included in the French intelligence documents that Daesh/ISIS, which seized the company's factory in the following period, permitted Lafarge to continue operating and to access areas under its control.

In 2017, while the company admitted to having made payments to armed groups in Syria, it denied allegations of "complicity in crimes against humanity."

After investigations, eight managers, including two high-ranking officers, were accused of financing terrorism, as well as "complicity in crimes against humanity," though this charge was dropped in November 2019.

In response, non-governmental organizations took the case to a court of appeal, which is yet to decide on the matter.

In May, this year, a Paris court indicted the French company, Lafarge, for its "complicity in crimes against humanity" in Syria.

According to French news outlet France24, the Court of Cassation -- France's highest court -- had overturned in September 2021 a decision by a lower court to dismiss charges against the cement maker for wrongdoings in Syria's civil war.

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