Syria: the contradictions of the ex-CEO of Lafarge, and his right arm in front of the judges

The ex-CEO of Lafarge, Bruno Lafont, was provided in front of the judges not to have been aware of the installments of the cement to the group islamic State (EI) in August 2014, but his former right-arm claimed to have informed much earlier, said Saturday to AFP a source close to the folder.

To continue to run his factory in Syria despite the war, Lafarge has paid from 2011 to 2015 12,946 million euros to the armed factions, including the ARS, according to an internal report commissioned by the French group, which has merged with the Swiss Holcim in 2015. In this investigation, non-standard, where, for the first time in France, the big bosses are believed to have funded terrorism, the contradictions between the different stakeholders involved are numerous.

“No agreement with Daesh”

Bruno Lafont, CEO of Lafarge from 2007 to 2015, and Christian Herrault, former deputy general director in charge of several countries, including Syria, have been indicted on December 8 for “endangering the lives of others” and “financing a terrorist enterprise”. Christian Herrault has been the announcement of the agreement with Daesh” (an acronym arab AR) at a meeting of the executive committee of Lafarge in August 2014, assured Bruno Lafont in front of the investigating judges, according to the source close to the folder.

“I have not commented on the coup, except to say that this agreement was not a good idea,” he added, ensuring that you have decided at the time of the closure of the plant, which will finally fall to the hands of the organization Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a few weeks later, on September 19, 2014. But Christian Herrault has maintained regular reporting to Mr. Lafont of the situation on site from the summer of 2012 and told him in September-October 2013, Lafarge has funded groups-jihadists, including the islamic State. He again assured to have paid at the AR “the sum of 5 million syrian pounds ($20,000) on a monthly basis from November 2013,” because “all stakeholders were of the (then) interest in this investment lasts and works.” “There are a lot of things that I didn’t know about and that I have perhaps been hidden,” said Bruno Lafont.

“We do not let people down”

The former boss defended himself for having wanted to keep Syria at any price-only for a reason, “mercantile”, whereas the group had paid a few years earlier – $ 680 million for its plant in Jalabiya (north of the country). “Obviously an asset of this amount is taken into account, but it is not the only one taken into account”, noted Bruno Lafont. “A cement plant is very difficult to knockdown (and) our tradition is to not let people down”, he added. Lafarge is also blamed for not having ensured the safety of the employees of the syrians of the cement plant.

“In July 2013 (…) I am aware that the situation was more complicated. I write in my personal notes “it folds down into the quiet,” says Bruno Lafont. The cement will remain yet in the country fourteen months. “Mr. Lafont has never expressed to Mr. Herrault or doubts or any desire to close the plant at this date and until August 2014”, was surprised Solange Doumic, attorney for the ex-deputy director general.

Also sought, the lawyer of Bruno Lafont, Hervé Temime, said his client “had taken note of the review. He assumed his capacity as leader of the company but denies any criminal offence”.

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