Syria: Three executives of Lafarge under investigation in France


© Reuters. SYRIA: THREE EXECUTIVES OF LAFARGE TRIED IN FRONT OF JUDGES IN FRANCE

PARIS (Reuters) – Two former executives of the company and responsible for the safety of the group were indicted Friday in the framework of the investigation on the activities of the cement plant of Jalabiya, in Syria, a-t-on learned from justice source.

They had been placed in police custody Wednesday for questioning by investigators of the customs court. This custody was lifted Friday morning, and they were brought before the investigating judges responsible for the case.

The investigation focuses on the conditions under which the French group – absorbed in 2015, by the Swiss Holcim (SIX:LHN), to form the giant cement LafargeHolcim (PA:NHS) – has been maintained in 2013-2014 its activities in Syria in a conflict zone, held in particular by the organization of the islamic State (Daech).

An internal investigation has confirmed that the money had been paid to the armed groups. The subsidiary syrian Lafarge LCS is also suspected of having used oil from territories controlled by Daech.

The former directors of LCS Bruno P. and Frederic J. have been indicted for funding the terrorism, endangerment, and violation of the regulations on financial relations with foreign countries, says one source of the judiciary.

According to the lawyer of Bruno P., Daniel want to add Larivière, this last incrimination aims of alleged infringements of the european regulations on purchases and sales of raw materials in Syria.

The two former directors have been placed under judicial control.

Bruno P. “believes that he is totally innocent of what he accuses. He left Syria in 2014 when he was asked to leave in 2013”, said to Reuters Daniel want to add Larivière.

The third man, Jean-Claude V., responsible for the safety of the group and always employee of LafargeHolcim, has been indicted for funding the terrorism and danger to others and placed under judicial control.

The EX-CEO OF LAFARGE SOON HEARD

The lawyer of the former military special forces told Reuters that it intended to challenge the indictment, according to him, “without any factual basis and legal” before the Court of appeal of Paris, in the coming weeks.

Jean-Claude V., “who has never had decision-making power within the Lafarge company and never ceased to warn his interlocutors operational, has not committed any criminal offence”, has explained to Me Sébastien Schapira, who argued that his client “was against any agreement with the armed groups”.

According to sources familiar with the folder, a new wave of interrogations of leaders or former leaders of the group, including ex-CEO, Bruno Lafont, is expected next week. According to Le Parisien, the latter is convened on Wednesday.

LafargeHolcim said in September condemning “with the utmost firmness the errors unacceptable violations in Syria”.

Of non-governmental organizations, civil parties in this folder, also want to shed light on this that knew the French government of the time on the activities of Lafarge in Syria.

The cement plant Jalabiya has been put into service in may 2010, just before the situation in Syria deteriorates and place the plant and its staff in a difficult situation in terms of security. The site was evacuated in September 2014.

According to sources in this folder, it now serves as the basis for the us special forces in Syria.

(Emmanuel Jarry, edited by Myriam Rivet)

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