LafargeHolcim’s subsidiary Lafarge SA has been placed under formal investigation in France over allegations it financed terrorist groups, and aided and abetted crimes against humanity in a bid to continue operating in Syria, reported The New York Times.

A panel of examining magistrates presiding over the case relating to the operation of the Jalabiya cement plant in Syria by Lafarge Cement Syria between 2011 and 2014, also charged Lafarge SA with violating a European Union embargo on oil purchases. 

Eight former company executives, including two former chief executives, have been indicted in recent months on charges of financing terrorism and putting the lives of their workers in Syria at risk. All of those officials have resigned from Lafarge, which merged with Holcim in 2015, after the activity in Syria took place.

“We truly regret what has happened in the Syria subsidiary and after learning about it took immediate and firm actions. None of the individuals put under investigation is today with the company,” said Beat Hess, LafargeHolcim chairman.

Hess continued, “LafargeHolcim was formed in 2015 out of two proud champions, each with a tradition reaching back over 100 years. Prior to the merger, the Lafarge Group had a comprehensive compliance program which was breached. We have further strengthened the compliance program and culture since the merger, to make sure that similar mistakes will not happen again. I believe our compliance culture is strong through our entire Group and with our dedicated employees we will overcome individual wrongdoings.”

LafargeHolcim said that Lafarge SA will appeal against those charges which do not fairly represent the responsibilities of the subsidiary, and the company will continue to fully cooperate with the legal authorities in the case.

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