The French intelligence services were probably partly aware of the alleged dealings between the Islamic State (IS) group and the Franco-Swiss Lafarge cement, reveals the newspaper Libération .
Declassified notes from the intelligence services obtained by the French daily show that the French secret services were following the evolution of the Lafarge plant in Syria.
Quebecker Paul Desmarais Jr., co-CEO of Power Corporation and a member of Lafarge’s board of directors, was questioned during the investigation into the Franco-Swiss company at the end of December.
Lafarge reportedly paid approximately US $ 15 million between 2011 and 2014 to various terrorist organizations, including the IS, to continue its activities in its Syrian cement plant. This agreement ended with the takeover of the cement plant in 2014 by IS fighters.
However, Lafarge had not abandoned Syria after taking its factory, can we learn in the notes revealed by “Liberation” in its edition of Tuesday. The French secret service believes that a Canadian-Syrian Amro Taleb, then acted as intermediary between the terrorist group and the company, since the IS wanted to sell the cement in the silos of the plant and put it back into activity .
Mr. Desmarais said last May, however, that he and Lafarge’s board of directors were not aware of the dealings between the company and the IS.
According to the internal notes, the residual cement present in the plant, which IS had seized, had a value of $ 11.5 million. “It is understandable that the dismantling of the Lafarge plant in Syria continues to the financial benefit of both Daesh and businessmen involved,” reads a note of intelligence services, according to Libération .
Lafarge never finally restarted the activities of its factory after its conquest by the terrorist group.
In June 2018, the Franco-Swiss company was indicted in French courts for complicity in crimes against humanity and financing a terrorist company in France, because of its alleged payments to the IS. She is also accused of endangering the lives of her employees by letting them work under the yoke of ISIS in Syria.