On Tuesday, France's top court overturned a decision by a lower court to dismiss charges against industrial giant Lafarge that it is guilty of "complicity in crimes against humanity" by funding terrorism in Syria, according to France24.
The ruling by the Court of Cassation, one of the four courts of last resort in France, is a significant setback for the cement manufacturer who is accused of paying terrorist groups, including ISIS, approximately 13 million euros ($15.3 million) so its cement factory in northern Syria could continue operating through the beginning of the country's ongoing multi-sided civil war.
In 2015, Swiss group Holcim merged with Lafarge and had to admit that its Syrian subsidiary paid "representatives" to negotiate with terrorist groups to allow the cement factory to remain open. The company has denied any responsibility for the money ending up in the hands of terrorists.
The court ruled Lafarge should be prosecuted for violating an EU embargo, funding terrorism, and endangering the lives of others.
France's top court ruled Tuesday that "one can be complicit in crimes against humanity even if one doesn't have the intention of being associated with the crimes committed."
"Knowingly paying several million dollars to an organization whose sole purpose was exclusively criminal suffices to constitute complicity, regardless of whether the party concerned was acting to pursue a commercial activity," the court added.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Anadolu Agency uncovered a treasure trove of documents that show Lafarge had secret relationships with the Daesh/ISIS terror group. It also revealed French spy agencies used Lafarge's network of contacts in Syria to gather intel. None of the intelligence agencies notified the company it was committing a crime over funding the terror groups.
Anadolu Agency accessed documents showing cement giant Lafarge constantly informed French intelligence agencies about its ties with the Daesh/ISIS terror group.— ANADOLU AGENCY (@anadoluagency) September 7, 2021
French Supreme Court upheld charges against Lafarge of ‘financing terrorism’https://t.co/zIq6bb6vco pic.twitter.com/U8j5TdFj7U
According to the news agency, Lafarge's security director Jean-Claude Veillard requested that France's interior ministry's intelligence directorate allow it to maintain relations with "local actors" to continue operations. A French intelligence officer asked the company: "Could you give more details about the cement provided to Daesh?"
Anadolu also obtained a 2018 court statement from a French intel officer, code-named AM 02, who said: "We approached the situation purely opportunistically, taking advantage of Lafarge's continued work," adding that the cement company was sending terrorist groups cement between 2012-14.
In 2018, Reuters pointed out that France asked the US not to bomb the cement plant in 2014.
More recently, we noted defense contractor PlanetRisk, a data harvesting firm that discovered they could track American special ops, found that US military forces traveled to the cement factory in northern Syria more than once between 2017-18.
Perhaps Lafarge's operations extended well beyond cement in northern Syria and was possibly an intel post for US and allied forces?