France: The French judiciary has launched an inquiry into the Syrian conduct of LafargeHolcim. Three judges, one dealing with anti-terrorism matters and two financial judges, will handle the probe that opened on 9 June 2017, according to Agence France Presse. The prosecutors will examine the ‘financing of a terrorist enterprise’ and whether the actions of the building materials producer had endangered lives.
LafargeHolcim admitted in March 2017 that its staff at a cement plant in Syria in 2013 and 2014 had struck deals with armed groups, following an investigation by the French newspaper La Monde in mid-2016. It is also alleged that Lafarge, one of the companies that merged to become LafargeHolcim in 2015, purchased oil in Syria in violation of international sanctions. The group’s chief executive officer Eric Olsen then resigned after the completion of a review into the affair in April 2017 despite not being found personally culpable or even aware of the situation. However, the review found that selected members of group management had been aware of the situation at the time.