A French cement company has reached a $778 million deal with the Department of Justice for providing material support to a terrorist organization.
The Justice Department accused Lafarge SA of paying ISIS leaders in Syria more than $10 million between 2012 and 2014 to ensure their cement plants and workers were safe. The payments were made during a time when ISIS was kidnapping and killing westerners in the country.
“Lafarge has admitted and taken responsibility for its staggering crime,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace in a statement. “Never before has a corporation been charged with providing material support and resources to foreign terrorist organizations.”
After arguing that the payments were made to protect their operations, the company agreed to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. The fine is one the largest ever handed down to a private company under the material support of terrorism law.
“Lafarge SA and LCS have accepted responsibility for the actions of the individual executives involved, whose behavior was in flagrant violation of Lafarge’s Code of Conduct. We deeply regret that this conduct occurred and have worked with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve this matter,” the company said in a statement.
Lafarge SA is also facing similar charges in France.