MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Lafarge paid taxes to ISIS to protect its business in Syria

Published by MAC on 2016-07-15
Source: Daily Pakistan, Daily Mail

The French Cement company Lafarge has been no stranger to controversy (see: Lafarge accused of turning Indian forest into "rocky wasteland").

It has recently been accused of paying taxes to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) to protect its cement making business in Syria.

Why has this French cement manufacturer been found to have close links with ISIS in Syria?

Khurram Shahzad

22 June 2016

ALEPPO – French firm Lafarge has been accused of making deals with ISIS to protect its cement making business in Syria.

According to reports, Lafarge paid taxes to ISIS to protect its Jalabiya cement works, 95 miles northeast of the Syrian city of Aleppo.

The company, which says its priority has “always been ensuring the safety and security of its staff,” bought the site in 2007 before beginning operations there in 2011. But it then went on to make “worrying deals” with ISIS to protect its business interests in the country, according to reports.

The French daily Le Monde wrote: ‘Until 2013, production kept up despite the growing instability in the region due to the civil war which began in 2011.’

In 2013, ISIS began taking control of towns and roads around the factory.

Le Monde reported that it had seen letters sent by Lafarge managers in Syria which revealed “arrangements that Lafarge made with the terror group to continue production until September 19, 2014.”

Letters reveal that French cement firm paid taxes to ISIS to protect its business in Syria

Lafarge bought cement plant 95 miles northeast of Aleppo in Syria in 2007. Civil war started in 2011 but firm kept up production at the site until 2013. 'Worrying deals' made with ISIS to protect business in Syria, it is claimed. Reports suggest abandoned site is now a base for Western special forces.

Julian Robinson

22 June 2016

In another case a 'pass stamped with an ISIS stamp and endorsed by the (group's) finance chief in the Aleppo region' proves the company had struck a deal with ISIS to allow for free circulation of its goods, the newspaper reported.

In order to keep making cement Lafarge bought licences from and paid taxes to ISIS middle-men and oil traders, the newspaper alleged.

Le Monde reports that the site was taken by the Kurdish YPG militia in February 2015, backed by the international coalition against ISIS.

The now abandoned plant has now become a base for French, US and British special forces who 'quietly support' Kurdish-Arab forces fighting the terror network, the newspaper claims.

Lafarge - which in 2015 merged with Swiss cement maker Holcim - confirmed to AFP it had owned the Jalabiya cement works 'between 2010 and 2014', but did not directly address the allegations.

'When fighting came closer to the factory, Lafarge's absolute priority was ensuring the safety and security of its staff while the closure of the factory was being studied,' the company said.

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