Lafarge Pleads Guilty To Charge Of Supporting Islamic State, To Pay Up $778 Million As Fine

French cement maker Lafarge has pleaded guilty in the United States for supporting the Islamic state and other terror groups. The cement maker has been found guilty to a charge that it made payments to designated terror groups, including Islamic State, in order to continue their operations in Syria, as reported by the news agency Reuters.

Lafarge said that it “deeply regretted” the events and “accepted responsibility for the individual executives involved. The firm also agreed to pay a penalty of $777.8 million.

The cement manufacturer has admitted that their behaviour had been in “flagrant violation” of Lafarge’s code of conduct. The firm had opened its plant in Jalabiya near the Turkish border in 2010 with an investment of $680 million. The admission in Brooklyn federal court marked the furst time that a company has pleaded guilty in the US to providing material support to a terrorist organization, as reported by Reuters.

Lafarge and its Syrian subsidiary Lafarge Cement Syria paid Islamic State and al Nusra Front, through intermediaries, the equivalent of approximately $5.92 million between 2013 and 2014 to allow employees, customers and suppliers to pass through checkpoints after civil conflict broke out in Syria, Reuters reported citing U.S. prosecutors 

That allowed the company to earn $70 million in sales revenue from a plant it operated in northern Syria, prosecutors said. “Lafarge made a deal with the devil,” Breon Peace, the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, told reporters following the guilty plea.

“This conduct by a Western corporation was appalling and has no precedent or justification.” Lafarge eventually evacuated the cement plant in September 2014, U.S. prosecutors said. At that point, Islamic State took possession of the remaining cement and sold it for the equivalent of $3.21 million, prosecutors said, the news agency reported.

(With Inputs from Reuters)