A French firm paid taxes to ISIS to protect its cement making business in Syria before the plant became a base for Western special forces, it has been claimed.
Lafarge has been accused of making arrangements with the terror group over the running of 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.
Lafarge has been accused of making arrangements with the terror group over the running of its Jalabiya cement works, 95 miles northeast of the Syrian city of Aleppo. The firm’s Paris plant is pictured above
But it then went on to make ‘worrying deals’ with ISIS to protect its business interests in the country, it has been reported.
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 it had seen letters sent by Lafarge managers in Syria ‘revealing arrangements that Lafarge made with the jihadist group to continue production until September 19, 2014.’
It was on this date that ISIS took over the site and Lafarge halted all activity.
In one case Lafarge – seeking access to its factory for workers and supplies – sent a man named Ahmad Jaloudi on a mission ‘to get permission from ISIS to let employees past checkpoints’.
According to Le Monde, the letters show that Lafarge’s Paris headquarters was aware of the arrangements.
The French firm paid taxes to ISIS to protect its cement making business in Syria before the plant became a base for Western special forces, it has been claimed (file picture)
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.