Guilty Plea in ISIS Payoffs
French cement company Lafarge SA pleaded guilty in a US court yesterday to conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State group and the Al-Nusra Front in Syria. Prosecutors had accused the company of paying millions of dollars to the terrorist groups to keep its plant in Syria operating. The company agreed to pay roughly $778M, including criminal fines of around $91M and an additional $687M in forfeitures, the largest penalty paid by a private corporation for providing material support to a terrorist group. The payments were made to the terrorist groups from August 2013 to October 2014, during a time when the groups kidnapped and killed prisoners, including many Westerners. Lafarge allegedly purchased production materials, such as oil, from the Islamic State and paid the group fees in exchange for the permits. Lafarge, which joined Switzerland-based Holcim Group in 2015, is also facing criminal charges in France for being complicit in crimes against humanity.