US Fines Lafarge $777.8m for Financing Terrorism

Image

By Adedapo Adesanya

French cement maker, Lafarge, has pleaded guilty in the United States to supporting the Islamic State and other terror groups and agreed to a $777.8 million penalty for payments it made to keep a factory running in Syria after war broke out in 2011.

The cement manufacturer, bought by Switzerland’s Holcim in 2015, said its behaviour had been in “flagrant violation” of Lafarge’s code of conduct.

Lafarge also said it “deeply regretted” the events and “accepted responsibility for the individual executives involved”.

The firm opened its plant in Jalabiya near the Turkish border in 2010 following a $680 million investment.

US prosecutors said that Lafarge’s Syrian subsidiary had paid Islamic State and another terror group, al Nusra Front, the equivalent of $5.92 million to protect staff at the plant as the country’s civil war intensified, but executives likened the arrangements to paying “taxes”, the company said.

Lafarge eventually evacuated the plant in September 2014, when Islamic State took control of the town and the factory but before its departure, the deals helped the company do $70.3 million in sales, prosecutors said.

Lafarge had previously admitted bribes were paid after an internal investigation, but US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said that the company’s actions “reflect corporate crime that has reached a new low and a very dark place.”

She added that, “Business with terrorists cannot be business as usual.”

In a statement, Lafarge’s new owner Holcim said none of the conduct involved Holcim, “which has never operated in Syria.”

It added that former Lafarge executives involved in the bribery had concealed it from Holcim, as well as external auditors.

Eric Olsen, who was CEO between 2015 and 2017, stepped down from his role following an investigation into Lafarge’s activities in Syria.

The Department of Justice said that senior executives at Lafarge were involved in the arrangements and aware they risked running afoul of authorities.

Executives had attempted to require Islamic State not to include the name “Lafarge” on documents memorializing and implementing their agreements, and many involved in the scheme also used personal email addresses, rather than their corporate email addresses, to carry out the conspiracy, the Department said.

Lafarge executives also backdated the termination agreement to August 18, 2014, a date shortly after the United Nations Security Council had issued a resolution calling on member states to prohibit doing business with Islamic State, to falsely suggest that negotiations with Islamic State had not occurred after the UN resolution, the Department said.

The dealings by Lafarge were eventually made public in 2016 on a website run by a Syrian opposition group.

Breon Peace, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York – where the case was brought – said the conduct “by a Western corporation was appalling and has no precedent or justification.”

“The defendants paid millions of dollars [to Islamic State], a terrorist group that otherwise operated on a shoestring budget, millions of dollars that [Islamic State] could use to recruit members, wage war against governments, and conduct brutal terrorist attacks worldwide, including against U.S. citizens,” he said at a press conference announcing the guilty plea.

Lafarge also faces charges of complicity in crimes against humanity in France over its activities in Syria, but the company denies the claims.

Share
Related Stories
Image
28-January-2024

Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso Leave ECOWAS

By Adedapo Adesanya The trio of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso on Sunday announced their withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The West African countries are currently led by soldiers following coups that ousted the civilian leadership in the countries with Niger being the latest. Struggling with jihadist violence and poverty, the regimes have had tense ties with ECOWAS since coups took place in Niger in July 2023, Burkina Faso in 2022, and Mali in 2020. All three were suspended from ECOWAS with Niger and Mali facing heavy sanctions. According to an Associated Press report, the

Image
05-February-2024

A Shifting Landscape: Is ECOWAS Awakening to Regional Economic and Security Realities?

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh Given the multidimensional difficulties facing the the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the most delicate being forging indivisible regional security which, at least, constitutes the basis for economic integration and development. The highly anticipated decision made by Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to quit the organization poses challenges and resolving these fragile questions lead to instability. Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have common historical and political backgrounds, as former French colonies struggled to maintain some kind of democracy and improve the economic situation for 80% impoverished population. However, the political leadership

Image
12-February-2024

LinkedIn Records 11.5 million Data Leaks in 2023

By Adedapo Adesanya Business and employment-focused social media platform, LinkedIn, recorded over 11 million data leaks in 2023, a new study has revealed from cybersecurity firm, Surfshark. In 2023, LinkedIn had almost 11.5 million emails leaked due to the scraping of publicly available information. Out of the leaked accounts, 1.6 million were American, 1.1 million were French, and 700,000 were British. Four Russian platforms, Chitai-gorod, Book24, Gloria Jeans, and SberSpasibo, experienced the 2nd through 5th biggest data breaches. These breaches exposed around 20 million Russian email accounts. According to the data, 300 million user account data were leaked globally in

More Stories
Image
14-July-2022

Court Sends Baba Ijesha to Jail for Assaulting Minor

By Aduragbemi Omiyale Popular Nigerian actor, Mr Olanrewaju Omiyinka, otherwise known as Baba Ijesha, has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a minor and has been sent to jail. The movie star was convicted on Thursday by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court. He was given 16 years imprisonment after his lawyers could not convince the judge that he did not commit the offence he was accused of committing some years ago. The sexual assault case was raised a few years ago by another showbiz star, Princess Damilola Adekoya, a comedienne and actor popularly

Image
26-July-2019

Airtel Africa’s Q1’19 Revenue Rises 6.9%, PAT Drops 12.2%

By Dipo Olowookere The board of Airtel Africa Plc has announced the release of the first quarter results of the company for the period ended June 30, 2019. This is the first quarterly financial statements of the telco after its Initial Public Offering (IPO) some weeks ago and its listing on both the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). From the brief analysis of the financial status of the firm, Business Post observed that the revenue generated improved by 6.9 percent to $795.9 million from $744.5 million. This was buoyed by its operations from Nigeria, which

Image
24-December-2021

NBC to Establish Institute for Broadcast Policy, Regulations

By Adedapo Adesanya The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) will establish an Institute for Broadcast Policy and Regulations in 2022, the Director-General, Mr Shehu Ilelah, has disclosed. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, he explained that the establishment of the institute will enhance professionalism in the broadcast industry. Mr Ilelah added that the commission has initiated a partnership with National Universities Commission (NUC) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for broadcast curricular accreditation at the nation’s tertiary institutions. “Preparations for the establishment of Institute for Broadcast Policy and Regulation are top in my agenda for next year.

Image
28-April-2023

Naira Gains at Official Market, Falls at Black Market, Flat at P2P

By Adedapo Adesanya The Naira witnessed the three different possible outcomes at the various segments of the foreign exchange (FX) on Thursday, April 27, when it appreciated against the Dollar in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window, depreciated in the black market, and traded flat in the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) wing of the market. In the official market, the Naira gained 13 Kobo or 0.03 per cent against the greenback to sell at N462.00/$1 compared with the previous day’s value of N462.13, amid a significant reduction in the value of forex transactions during the session. FMDQ Securities Exchange put the day’s

Image
03-September-2016

Gunmen Kill Ex-Ondo Council Boss, Niyi Pirisola

By Dipo Olowookere Some unknown gunmen have assassinated former caretaker committee chairman of Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State. The victim, Mr Niyi Pirisola, was a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the council. He was murdered on Friday morning by yet to be identified persons. Business Post gathered that Mr Pirisola was shot at a close range by his killers, who later escaped after the act. He was said to have been shot while returning from church in his hometown. Meanwhile, police in the state have launched an investigation into the matter and have vowed to

Image
22-January-2019

Selloffs in Oil Stocks Tumble NSE Indices by 0.88%

By Dipo Olowookere Trading activities resumed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) yesterday on a negative note as a result of the offloading of some stocks in the oil and gas space as well as in the industrial sector, especially Dangote Cement. During the Monday’s session, investors sold off some stocks which have given them a level of returns as a result of the gains of last week, bringing down the market by 0.88 percent to raise the year-to-date loss to 2.22 percent. As earlier stated, losses were seen in almost all the sectors with the oil

Image
24-March-2022

Brent Surges to $122 on Fresh Supply Disruption

By Adedapo Adesanya The value of Brent crude on the global market increased by 5.3 per cent or $5.98 to $122.70 per barrel on Wednesday as disruptions to Russian and Kazakh crude exports added to worries over tight global supplies. Also, the price of the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures appreciated by 5.18 per cent or $5.66 yesterday to trade at $115.50 per barrel. Crude oil exports from Kazakhstan’s Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) terminal on Russia’s Black Sea coast stopped fully on Wednesday after damage caused by a major storm and continued bad weather. The market then

Image
26-June-2017

European Stocks Surge as Banks Lead Gains

By Investors Hub European Stocks surged higher on Monday, with banks leading gains, after Italy moved to shore up confidence in its fragile banking system. The Italian government agreed to bail out two banks in the Venice region at a cost of 5.2bn euros after the European Central Bank ruled that those banks were “failing or about to fail”. Investor sentiment also remained supported by higher oil prices, upbeat German business sentiment data and news that Swiss consumer group Nestle has become the latest target of U.S. activist investor Daniel Loeb. A closely-watched survey showed German business sentiment unexpectedly surged

Ad
Ad
Recent Stories
Image
29-February-2024

No Going Back on Reforms—Tinubu

By Adedapo Adesanya President Bola Tinubu has said there is no going back on the reforms embarked upon by his government that have led to the hike of essential goods and services in the country. He made this known as he inaugurated the Red Line Rail Project in Lagos on Thursday. The project, an intra-state rail service, is aimed at improving transportation within the city and spans 37 kilometres. Speaking while inaugurating the project, the President reiterated his administration’s commitment to improving the nation’s infrastructural development. He said, “But this revolution that has started, this reform that is ongoing, we

Image
29-February-2024

Senate Confirms Appointment of Four Nominees to CBN Board

By Aduragbemi Omiyale The appointment of four nominees to the board of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been confirmed by the Senate. The nominees were confirmed for the position at the plenary on Thursday after the presentation of the report of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions. Chairman of the committee, Mr Tokunbo Abiru, informed his colleagues that only four of the five persons nominated by President Bola Tinubu appeared for screening. The nominees screened and confirmed to join the board of directors of the central bank are Robert Agbede, Ado Yakubu Wanga, Murtala

Image
29-February-2024

Africa Beyond Russia’s Grains Partnerships

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh Until sustainable food security is established through modernizing agriculture and ensuring adequate support for local farmers, Russia’s grain supply would be a soft geostrategic bait (i) to reinforce the existing time-tested relationships with Africa and (ii) to solicit an endorsement for the unprovoked war in Ukraine. In a speech delivered on March 20, 2023, during the interparliamentary conference ‘Russia-Africa’ held in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin described six African countries as the least developed and poorest in the world that are urgently in need grains, alternatively referred to as humanitarian aid, to feed its population. The beneficiary

Image
29-February-2024

MasterCard, MTN Partner to Boost Digital Commerce, Payments

By Aduragbemi Omiyale A partnership aimed at driving acceleration of the mobile money ecosystem in Africa across 13 markets has been entered into between Mastercard and MTN Group Fintech. This is coming shortly after the payments giant completed the purchase of a minority stake in the telecommunications company. The deal will see Mastercard giving a prepaid virtual card tailored for MTN’s MoMo customers, granting them access to over 100 million acceptance points worldwide. Additionally, it will empower MoMo merchants to seamlessly accept card payments, enhancing the platform’s instant cross-border money remittance services and capabilities. Further, Mastercard will use its cutting-edge

Image
29-February-2024

Adesina to Receive Prestigious Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership

By Ichie Enyi Ejike Umunnabuike Jr Come March 6, 2024, the Lagos Continental Hotel will host an unforgettable occasion when the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, will be formally honoured and presented with the distinguished Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership 2023. The Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership was first announced in December 2012, with the official award ceremony held on March 6, 2013. Before Mr Adesina was announced as its fourth recipient, three other distinguished personalities had been conferred with the prestigious award – Noble Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; former South African President, Thabo

Image
29-February-2024

Exploring Diverse and Evolving Sounds of Africa

Africa’s music scene is a sonic melting pot, where rhythms collide and cultures connect. It’s a universal language, a force that breaks boundaries and fuels the soul. This sonic tapestry isn’t just diverse – it’s explosive. Afrobeats and Amapiano own the spotlight right now. Those irresistible Afrobeats hooks? They’ve got the whole world dancing. And Amapiano’s hypnotic blend of South African house and street sounds? It’s straight-up addictive. Mainstream African artists are pushing the boundaries like no one else, taking Amapiano and running with it. They’re injecting their fire, creating a whole new flavour. This is proof that African music

Image
29-February-2024

Nigeria Needs Policies that Prioritize Economic Recovery—Peter Obi

By Adedapo Adesanya The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi, has raised concerns over the recent decision of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to increase the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 22.5 per cent and the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) to 45 per cent. Mr Obi warned that this move is likely to worsen the ongoing economic challenges faced by many Nigerian households, and emphasized the need for policies that prioritize economic recovery. In a statement issued via X (formerly Twitter), the businessman and former

Image
29-February-2024

Silence Laboratories Raises $4.1m for Privacy-Preserving Computing

By Adedapo Adesanya Silence Laboratories has announced securing $4.1 million in funding to enable privacy-preserving collaborative computing led by Pi Ventures and Anurag Arjun, along with several prominent angel investors. In a statement shared with Business Post, the company said with the market for privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) growing globally at a compound annual growth rate of 26.6 per cent, there is growing demand. In recognition of this, Silence Laboratories is offering to provide mathematical guarantees for techno-legal expectations as part of a mission to create infrastructure to enable complex data collaborations between enterprises and entities, without any sensitive information being

Image
29-February-2024

MainOne Stretches Submarine Cable to Akwa Ibom

By Modupe Gbadeyanka A submarine cable spanning 45,000km in length known as 2Africa has been landed in Akwa Ibom State by MainOne, an Equinix company. It is one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects and will interconnect Europe, Asia, and Africa, with a design capacity of up to 180Tbps. The cable is the first and only submarine cable system in Nigeria outside of Lagos, and it marks a significant milestone in enhancing broadband connectivity and driving economic development in the South-South, South-East and North-Central regions of Nigeria. The significance of 2Africa lies in its capacity to address critical internet

Image
29-February-2024

Russia, Mali Review Military Partnership

By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh  Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has offered an increased military partnership during the latest bilateral talks held on February 28, 2024, with his Malian counterpart Abdoulaye Diop in Moscow. The significance of Russian support is directed at fighting terrorism and enhancing the combat effectiveness of the Malian army and law enforcement agencies, including the training of soldiers and police officers The interim military government has maintained a well-developed multifaceted nature of bilateral relations with Russia since the military ascended into political power. Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Mali’s Interim President Assimi Goita on the sidelines of