Lafarge SA, the massive French cement construction company, has been exposed to have made millions of dollars of payments that supported ISIS and another terrorist cell to continue the manufacturer’s operations in Syria as a civil war escalated, according to various news outlets.
The company is paying a hefty penalty of approximately $780 million and pleaded guilty to a U.S. federal court of conspiring to provide material/funds to the terrorists as part of a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to various news sources, Lafarge entered a revenue sharing scheming with ISIS and the al-Nusrah Front that produced millions for the terrorist groups, as reported from court filings from the plea deal the Justice Department reached with Lafarge.
“Lafarge made a deal with the devil,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, of the Eastern District of New York, said at a press conference after the court proceedings.
Lafarge and Lafarge Cement Syria, one of its subsidiaries, entered the conspiracy with “the explicit purpose of incentivizing ISIS to act in a manner that would promote LAFARGE’s and LCS’s security and economic interests,” court documents said.
Payments that the companies made through intermediaries to the terrorist groups amounted to almost $6 million. When the manufacturer left the cement plant in 2014, ISIS took over the grounds and sold the cement it had produced for roughly $3.2 million, according to the Justice Department.
“The defendants paid millions of dollars to ISIS, a terrorist group that otherwise operated on a shoestring budget—millions of dollars that ISIS could use to recruit members, wage war against governments and conduct brutal terrorist attacks worldwide,” Breon said.
Several emails and other documents from the company were quoted in the report, exposing the scheme, which revolved around a cement plant Lafarge was running in Syria.
A 2013 agreement between ISIS and LSC, found on a document with ISIS letterhead, laid out a deal for ISIS to let trucks access the company’s cement factory for 400 Syrian pounds per truck, according to the new filings.
Prosecutors said that Lafarge executives sought to conceal the scheme by using personal emails to communicate about it. Top brass also falsified documents to suggest that the company had terminated its relationship with an intermediary who was working with ISIS, according to the new filings.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Tuesday that “corporate criminals” had “joined hands” with terrorists.
“In its pursuit of profits, Lafarge and its top executives not only broke the law, they helped finance a violent reign of terror that ISIS and al-Nusrah imposed on the people of Syria,” Monaco said.
Magali Anderson, a top executive at Lafarge, pleaded guilty on behalf of the company.
Lafarge North America were one of the main gypsum manufacturers in the U.S. until 2013, when it sold its assets to Lone Star Funds. Continental Building Products LLC was a company created after the sale of Lafarge’s gypsum assets. Then, in 2020, Saint-Gobain purchased the assets of Continental. However, it seems that little to none remains of the branding of Lafarge/Continental and the portfolio was more or less absolved into the Saint-Gobain fold.