The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Lafarge, Swiss Owned Subsidiary Funded ISIS & Terror, Yazidi Lawsuit Claims

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 15 December 2023

The French cement manufacturer Lafarge, which now belongs to Holcim, has to go to court again in the Syria affair:

Lafarge, Swiss Owned Subsidiary Funded ISIS & Terror, Yazidi Lawsuit Claims
LaFarge Granulats Site. Thibault Camus – ©Keystone/SDA

On Thursday (local time), Yazidi Americans filed a lawsuit against Lafarge with a federal court in New York. The news agency Reuters had previously reported on this.

The French cement manufacturer Lafarge is known to have been accused of paying bribes to the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS) in 2013 and 2014 – before its takeover by Swiss competitor Holcim in 2015 – in order to maintain production at the cement factory in Syria. In the fall of 2022, Lafarge agreed to a settlement of USD 778 million with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in this context.

Now Yazidis with US citizenship are taking legal action against the French cement manufacturer. The religious minority was forcibly expelled from their home region of Sinjar in northern Iraq by IS and exploited. It has been known since 2016 that IS committed genocide against the minority.

“Before, during and after the period in which ISIS carried out these brutal attacks on the Yazidis, the defendants paid and conspired with ISIS,” reads the complaint against Lafarge submitted to Reuters. The plaintiffs include Yazidi Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, herself a victim of IS exploitation.

A Lafarge spokesperson confirmed the filing of the lawsuit to the news agency AWP. The matter is a legacy issue. Families of American soldiers killed by IS already filed a similar lawsuit against Lafarge in July of this year.

Also trial in France

A trial is also underway in Paris in connection with the financing of terrorism in Syria. France’s highest court held a hearing in these ongoing proceedings in November, but did not hold out the prospect of a decision until January 16, 2024.

Lafarge is accused of aiding and abetting crimes against humanity and endangering the lives of its Syrian employees. The proceedings are still a kind of preliminary trial in which the charges are being determined. Only then can the main trial begin.

©Keystone/SDA

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