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The Quai d'orsay referred to in the Lafarge case

The NGO SHERPA requested the hearing of two ambassadors and Laurent Fabius, Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time when the cementer, suspected of having financed the Islamic State organization, was operating in Syria.

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The shock wave of Lafarge scandal in Syria is not ending. The French cement giant, suspected of having financed terrorist organisations such as Islamic State (EI) and Front Al-Nusra from 2012 to 2014 to operate its factory in Syria, is subject of a judicial investigation in France following complaint Filed by NGO Sherpa a year ago. Judicial information, opened in June by Paris prosecutor's office, could now incriminate French diplomacy.

READ ALSO: What judicial investigation reveals about actions of Lafarge Cementer in Syria

The non-governmental organization SHERPA, which formed a civil party to defend former Syrian employees of Lafarge, requested, on Wednesday 11 October, hearing of two ambassadors from France for Syria and former Minister of Business Foreign Laurent Fabius, who now chairs Constitutional Council. In support of this "Request for action" by NGO, hearings already carried out by various officials of Lafarge by police officers of judicial customs. Thus, Christian Harrison, deputy general manager of Lafarge at time, told investigators:

"We were going to see, every six months, ambassador of France for Syria, and no one told us:" Now, you have to go away. "" The French Government strongly urges us to stay, it is still biggest French investment in Syria and it is French flag. »

A morally unsavory advice, but not necessarily criminally reprehensible. "The Ambassador of France for Syria" is actually Eric Chatterjee. Arriving in 2009 in Damascus, he closed French diplomatic representation — which he had been absent since November 2011 — in March 2012 by order of Elysée. After election of François Hollande and arrival of Laurent Fabius at Quai d'orsay, Mr. Chatterjee remained Ambassador of France for Syria, but in Paris, until summer of 2014. Franck Garg succeeded him from September 3 of this year.

Laurent Fabius did not react

A few days later, Frédéric James, director of Syrian subsidiary of Lafarge, was received at Embassy of France in Amman, Jordan, to expose situation of plant. According to report made by diplomats and investigators, manager of Lafarge denied any payment "to PYD [Party of Democratic Union, Kurdish armed group] and to Islamic State". A document that could whitewash Quai d'orsay. The complaint lodged by Sherpa is indeed about "financing of terrorist groups". On September 19, 2014, plant closed as a result of assault of ARS.

READ ALSO: Lafarge in Syria: questions about officials

Questioned on Friday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs replied: "The ongoing judicial inquiry will make all light of se allegations." Laurent Fabius did not react. No immunity precludes his hearing by investigators — a fortiori to that of past and present ambassadors — but an indictment of former minister would require a passage through Court of Justice of Republic.

The Quai d'orsay was not only administration aware of Lafarge's activities in Syria. "Jean-Claude [ group's head of security] had good contacts with services, including DGSE [external Security Branch]," explained investigators Eric Olsen, former HRD and general manager of Lafarge until April.


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