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Cement, compliance, and crimes against humanity in Syria

Neil Hodge | March 14, 2017

Swiss-French cement company LafargeHolcim has admitted to “unacceptable” measures that may have led to company cash being used to fund terrorist groups in Syria—including ISIS—while also putting employees’ lives at risk in order to keep its newly built plant open.

Lafarge’s Syrian unit had paid third parties to work out arrangements with armed groups, including “sanctioned parties,” to maintain operations at the cement factory in 2013 and 2014. The company says, however, that it is unable to establish which groups ultimately received the funds, adding that local managers at the Syrian plant “acted in a manner they believed was in the best interests of the company and its employees” but without the direct knowledge of the group board.

Lafarge’s cement plant started production in May 2010, nearly three years after building work began and at a cost of U.S.$680m. But by September 2014 the political and security situation had become so untenable that the company was forced... To get the full story, subscribe now.