The ex-ambassador of France in Syria has written to the judges in charge of the investigation on the financing of terrorism which aims Lafarge to finally acknowledge to have had an interview in the summer of 2012 with leaders of the cement material, revealed Wednesday, February 28, the daily Liberation. In a letter dated January 15, 2018 consulted by Release, Eric Chevallier recognizes for the first time that a “maintenance took place in the summer of 2012”.
A few days earlier, on 9 January, he had been faced with the judges of the former deputy director general of Lafarge group, Christian Herrault, indicted with five other leaders of the group. Lafarge is believed to have paid between 2011 and 2015, more than 12 million euros to the armed groups in Syria, including the islamic State (ARS), to continue to run its cement plant Jalabiya (north) in spite of the war.
The ambassador was aware of the racket” and said “+you should stay, the disorders are not going to last+”, affirmed Mr. Herrault before the magistrates, ensuring you have met Eric Chevallier on several occasions. But the latter had replied, “not to have a souvenir of these encounters.”
“I thought that the leaders of Lafarge, which evoked the existence of talks were all wrong, all the more that the about I were assigned to do were nothing I could have said”, wrote the diplomat in his letter quoted by Liberation. According to the newspaper, Eric Chevallier explains to have contacted a “young woman of the office of the Middle East” at the Quai d’orsay that “indicated to me that no one in the department had up to this day asked the question, but that indeed it was the remembrance of this meeting.”
But, again, the diplomat said that it “confirms that it is not advisable maintaining the plant “Lafarge Syria”. Contacted by AFP on Wednesday, the Quai d’orsay has not waned. “We communicate to the administration of justice the information or the documents that it asks of us,” said a spokesman. “Neither the ministry of European and foreign affairs, nor any of its agents are not implicated by the ongoing litigation,” she stressed.
The co-investigating judges have recently focused their investigations on what knew to be the French diplomacy, and seeking to establish if she was able to push the cement to remain in Syria, as is stated in several of its leaders of the time. The association Sherpa, the civil party in this folder, requested the hearing of Laurent Fabius, minister of foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2016.