Court quashes criminal charge against Lafarge

Court quashes criminal charge against Lafarge

A French appeal court has dropped the charge of complicity in crimes against humanity against Lafarge, the country’s largest cement maker, over its business in Syria, the state-run France Info radio reported on Thursday.

But the French firm, part of the LafargeHolcim group, still faces inquiry into allegations of financing of terrorist enterprise,

The investigators were searching for clues on whether it had paid the Islamic State in 2013 and 2014 to keep its plant operating in areas controlled by the group.

According to Xinhua, the Paris court upheld charges of endangering of people’s lives and violating an embargo, according to the report.

“The appeal court corrected the decision of the trial judges and considered that it was unfounded.

Now, it’s clear that Lafarge did not take any part in the alleged crime,’’ defence lawyer Christophe Ingrain told France Info.

“This decision gives us even more motivation to convince the magistrates to abandon the other charges,’’ he said.

In early 2017, France launched a judicial inquiry into the group’s suspected activities in Syria and alleged payments to armed groups to ensure the security of its workers and guarantee supplies to its plant.

Prosecutors then placed eight former senior Lafarge managers under formal investigation over their role in the affair after the construction company admitted, following an independent investigation it had commissioned.

They said that unacceptable individual errors were made in its factory before it was evacuated in September 2014.

Lafarge merged with Swiss company Holcim in 2015 to become LafargeHolcim, the world’s leading cement maker

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