French Company to Pay $777 Million and Plead Guilty to Paying ISIS as Terror Group Killed Westerners

A view of a Lafarge Cement plant is seen in Paris, France on September 8, 2021. Julien Mattia | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
  • Lafarge Cement is pleading guilty and has agreed to pay a fine of $777.8 million to resolve a criminal charge related to the French company’s payments to the terror organization ISIS to keep a plant operating in Syria.
  • The nearly $17 million payments to ISIS were made from 2012 through 2014, and occurred even as the terror group was kidnapping and killing Westerners.
  • The investigation that led to Lafarge being indicted in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, is ongoing. No individuals have been charged.
  • Lafarge was purchased by Switzerland-based Holcim in 2015.

Lafarge SA has agreed to plead guilty Tuesday and pay a fine of $777.8 million to resolve a U.S. federal criminal charge related to the French company’s payments to the terror organization ISIS to keep a cement plant operating in Syria.

The nearly $17 million payments to ISIS were made from August 2013 through October 2014, and occurred even as the terror group was kidnapping and killing Westerners.

The investigation that led to Lafarge and its defunt Syrian subsidiary being indicted in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, to one count of conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, is ongoing. No individuals have been charged.

The Department of Justice has scheduled an 11 a.m. ET press conference on the case in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Lafarge was purchased by Switzerland-based Holcim in 2015.

In a statement, Lafarge said, “Lafarge SA and [Lafarge Cement Syria] 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 U.S. Department of Justice to resolve this matter,” Lafarge said.

Holcim in a statement to CNBC said it supports the plea agreement that Lafarge reached with DOJ.

“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,” Holcim said in that statement.

“The DOJ noted that former Lafarge SA and [Lafarge Cement Syria] executives involved in the conduct concealed it from Holcim before and after Holcim acquired Lafarge SA, as well as from external auditors,” Holcim said.

“When Holcim learned of the allegations from media reports in 2016, Holcim proactively and voluntarily conducted an extensive investigation, led by a major U.S. law firm and overseen by the Board of Directors. It publicly disclosed the principal investigative findings in 2017 and separated from former Lafarge SA and LCS executives who were involved in these events.”

Lafarge was indicted by French authorities in 2018 in connection with the ISIS payments on charges of being complicit in crimes against humanity.

In its statement Tuesday, Lafarge said it “continues to cooperate fully with the French authorities in their investigation of the conduct and will defend itself against any judicial actions that it regards as unjustified in the French proceedings.”

Holcim said in its statement that the DOJ has determined that it is not necessary to appoint an independent compliance monitor for Lafarge because Holcim has effective compliance and risk management controls to detect potential similar conduct.

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