According to Mediapart, the name of the director of safety for the Lafarge group, Jean-Claude Veillard, would be in exchange for the payment of rights of passage to armed groups in Syria, in the region of the cement plant Jalabiya. However, this person was also present on the list supported by the FN Wallerand de Saint-Just in the municipal elections of Paris in 2014.
The case of Lafarge in Syria takes a surprising turn : after the journalistic investigation conducted by Mediapart, the director of safety of the cement companies Lafarge would have endorsed the negotiations between representatives of the group in Syria and armed groups in 2014. At the same time, Jean-Claude Veillard was a candidate at municipal elections in Paris, in the 5th position on the list of Wallerand de Saint-Just, the current treasurer of the National Front. According to information published by Mediapart, he was a “militant of the extreme right committed“.
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“I get to Manbij. The islamic State wants a list of our employees with their id cards to issue to each an authorization to pass through their checkpoints“. Content of an email attributed to Jean-Claude Veillard
Despite his political engagement, the director of safety would have had a “perfect knowledge of the dealings which have taken place in 2013 and 2014, between the multinational and the islamic State, “says the news website independent. When asked about this situation, he only replied that his presence on the list supported by the FN was “a personal matter, and private” which would not have had the same impact if it “had been the assistant of Mélenchon or a socialist“. And the head of the list, Wallerand de Saint-Just, a guest of the webcast .POL responded : “Nothing published by Mediapart is not absolutely convincing (…) Nothing that mr. Veillard may not be, in my view, open to criticism“. Considering that the only professional liability of the person concerned was committed, he concludes : “in His professional activities have nothing to do with his political activism“.
A situation that weighs heavily on LafargeHolcim
Remember that Bercy has been referred to the justice in the fall of 2016, so that the public prosecutor opens a preliminary inquiry on the maintenance of the activity of the cement plant in syrian Jalabiya by Lafarge, as the roads were blocked by islamist groups. In march 2017, at the end of an internal investigation, the French group (now LafargeHolcim 2015) admitted that its subsidiary, syrian had “turned over funds to third parties in order to find arrangements with a number of armed groups” who were trying to control “the areas around the plant“. Payments which had been intended “to keep up the activity and ensure the safe passage of employees and supplies to and from the factory“. The group has recognized the measures “unacceptable” and “errors of judgment significant” on the part of responsible operations. Of the revelations which have led to a backlash of anger of Michel Sapin, minister of Economy and Finance, which stated, on the 25th of April : “Any funding of this nature must be prosecuted and their leaders, whatever they are, and condemned“.
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The suspicions which are now weighing on the group’s management, which could have been aware of these payments, have prompted Eric Olsen to resign from his position as general manager. It will leave its position in mid-July, once a successor has been appointed. The manager explained : “Although I have been in any way involved, or even informed, of wrongdoing, I think that my leaving will help to bring serenity to a society that has been exposed for several months on this topic“. For their part, trade unionists of the CFDT are worried about the employment consequences of this controversy that has tarnished the image of LafargeHolcim. As to the NGO Sherpa, who filed a complaint against the group for financing of terrorism, she persists in believing in the responsibility of the entire hierarchy : “It is the parent company that was at the origin of decisions taken and the actions committed by the subsidiary syrian violation of human rights“. The survey will thus determine the degree of involvement of Jean-Claude Veillard.