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9 Feb 2024

Le Monde avec AFP

France: Prosecutors recommend Lafarge face trial for terrorism financing in Syria

"French prosecutors seek Lafarge trial for terror financing", 9 Feb 2024

French prosecutors have recommended that cement maker Lafarge stand trial on charges of terrorism financing over its past activities in Syria, a source close to the case told AFP Friday.

France's anti-terror prosecution unit (PNAT) wants to put the company and nine of its former managers in the dock, the source said.

Lafarge has since 2015 been part of Swiss building materials conglomerate Holcim.

It has acknowledged that in 2013 and 2014 it paid nearly 13 million euros ($14.2 million at current rates) to middlemen to keep its Syrian cement factory running. This was long after other French firms had pulled out of the country.

The company contends that it had no responsibility for the money winding up in the hands of groups, which allegedly included Islamic State.

But in a PNAT filing seen by AFP, prosecutors took a different view.

The company "either intended the funds to be used entirely, or in part, towards the objective of committing terrorist acts, or was aware that this was how they would be used", they wrote...