Lafarge, in 2013-2014, “handed over funds to third parties in order to find arrangements with a number of these armed groups” to ensure security. – Franck Fife – AFP

The Court of Cassation on Tuesday invalidated the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal to annul the indictment of the cement manufacturer Lafarge for “complicity in crimes against humanity” in the investigation into its activities s in Syria until 2014.

The highest court of the judiciary also overturned the decision of the appeals court to uphold the group’s indictment for “endangering the life of others”, and dismissed these two questions in front of the investigating chamber so that it decides again on it.

On the other hand, the Court confirmed the indictment of the cement manufacturer for “financing of terrorism”. Contacted by AFP, the Lafarge lawyer did not wish to comment.

In this judicial investigation opened in June 2017, Lafarge SA is suspected of having paid in 2013 and 2014, via its subsidiary Lafarge Cement Syria (LCS), nearly 13 million euros to terrorist groups, including the Islamic State (IS) organization, and through intermediaries, in order to maintain the activity of its site in Syria as the country sank into war.

The group is also suspected of selling cement from the factory to ISIS and paying intermediaries to source raw materials from jihadist factions.

An internal report commissioned by LafargeHolcim, born from the merger in 2015 of the French Lafarge and the Swiss Holcim, had highlighted LCS remittances to intermediaries to negotiate with “groups armed “.

But Lafarge SA has always disputed any responsibility for the destination of these payments to terrorist organizations.

“The Court of Cassation ruled in favor of the investigating magistrate on two essential points, by confirming the prosecutions for the financing of terrorism and by reopening the debate on complicity in crimes against humanity, which will be maintained in view of the Overwhelming elements of the case “, reacted Me William Bourdon, lawyer for Sherpa.