Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/20 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/20 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/20 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/20 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/20 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/20 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/20 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/20 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/20 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/20 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 07/15 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/20 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 07/15 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/20 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/20 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 07/20 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 07/15 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 07/20 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 07/15 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 07/20 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 07/15 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
France

Lafarge officials charged with financing jihadists

media The logo of the French concrete maker Lafarge is seen on a plant in Paris, France, on May 22, 2017. Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

Three top officials of Swiss-French cement-maker Lafarge were charged Friday with indirectly financing jihadists through the company's activities in war-torn Syria, one of their lawyers and judicial sources said.

Lafarge stands accused of paying the Islamic State group and other militants through a middleman in order to allow the company's factory in Jalabiya, northern Syria, to continue to operate.

The company is also suspected of using fake consulting contracts to buy fuel from IS, which took control of most of Syria's strategic oil reserves in June 2013.

Frederic Jolibois, who took over as manager of the factory in 2014, was charged with financing terrorism and violating an EU embargo on Syrian oil, his lawyer Jean Reinhart said.

Bruno Pescheux, Jolibois' predecessor as factory chief between 2008 and 2014, and Lafarge security boss Jean-Claude Veillard were also charged for financing terrorism as well as "endangering others' lives".

Jolibois has admitted to buying oil from "non-governmental organisations", notably Kurdish and Islamist groups, in violation of the EU embargo declared in 2011.

Pescheux has meanwhile admitted Lafarge paid up to $100,000 (84,000 euros) a month to Syrian tycoon Firas Tlass, a former minority shareholder who gave cash to armed factions in order to keep the factory open.

IS would have received around $20,000, Pescheux estimated.

The three are the first to be detained in the probe by French anti-terror and financial crimes judges, who are also looking at whether Lafarge took adequate measures to protect Syrian employees.

Local staff stayed on site while executives fled Damascus for the safety of Cairo in summer 2011. Other foreign workers were evacuated in the months that followed.

Lafarge, which merged in 2015 with Swiss building supplies company Holcim, hung on in Syria for two years after most French companies had left as IS made major territorial gains.

The jihadists, who have since lost huge swathes of territory in international military offensives, eventually took over the Jalabiya plant in September 2014.

The Lafarge investigation has gained pace in recent weeks, with police carrying out an extensive search at the company's Paris headquarters in November.

Three former Syrian employees were also flown out from Syria to give evidence in late September.

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.