French government confirms probe into Lafarge over conduct in Syria
The French government has confirmed that it is investigating Lafarge over alleged illegal activities in Syria following European Union (EU) sanctions that were imposed in 2012. The Paris prosecutors office said that a probe was opened in October 2016 after the French Ministry of Economy and Finance filed a complaint against the cement producer, according to the Associated Press. LafargeHolcim the company formed from a merger between Lafarge and Holcim in 2015, said that it was, in the process of establishing the facts concerning our activities in Syria.
A group led by the non-government organisation (NGO) Sherpa filed a complaint in Paris against Lafarge for allegedly financing terrorism in November 2016. The complaint accused it of maintaining commercial relations with the Islamic State group in Syria in 2013 and 2014 so it could continue operating a cement plant in the country. At the time, Lafarge denied financing so-called terrorist groups. The company said it had launched a thorough and independent investigation into the allegations to determine whether its internal code of conduct had been properly followed and if procedures needed to be adapted. It said it would implement any remediation measures required.
Michael Weingaertler, construction market expert, Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO), Austria
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