When the Lafarge factory in Syria served as a spy base for the anti-Islamic State coalition
Ahmad Jaloudi is a soldier, a man of discipline and order. Short, muscular, stocky. Orders, he is used to receiving, giving and executing them without hesitation. He knows how to show initiative too, when the situation requires it. But having to account for his actions and explain himself to a judge is beyond him.
Ahmad Jaloudi, 54 years old, is a retired Colonel in the Jordanian Air Force. He also served for the intelligence services of his country, participated in UN peacekeeping missions in Sudan, Somalia, in particular. Above all, he worked from 2013 to 2019 for the French cement company Lafarge. In particular, he served as “risk manager” at the Jalabiya plant in north-eastern Syria, which continued to operate until September 2014, despite the ongoing civil war in that country.
And this is what is worth today to this Jordanian an indictment for “financing of terrorism” and “complicity in crimes against humanity” alongside six leaders of the group. After a first hearing before the investigating judge, in September 2021, he is expected in Paris, at the crimes against humanity pole, for a new summons, on March 28.
So far, the French cement manufacturer has been prosecuted because it is suspected of having financed jihadist groups, including the Islamic State (IS) organization, to maintain its activity in Syria at all costs. Ahmad Jaloudi’s exclusive account, corroborated by elements to which The world had access, indicates that other players have taken advantage of Lafarge’s presence and maintenance in Syria: Western intelligence services, starting with the French.
Rights of way and ransoms
As revealed by an investigation by the World in June 2016, confirming information published by the Syrian opposition newspaper Zaman Al-Waslthe French firm paid rights of way, ransoms, and bought raw materials taxed by various Syrian armed rebel groups, including IS.
The conclusions of the audit conducted in 2017 by the firm Baker McKenzie, at the request of the new managers of the cement manufacturer, made it possible to conclude that a total sum of 15.34 million dollars (14.3 million euros) was been paid by Lafarge Cement Syria (LCS), a Syrian subsidiary of Lafarge, over the period from 2011 to 2015, both for the irregular purchase of raw materials and for the remuneration of the various armed groups, among which of the terrorist organizations. IS, through its intermediaries, would have recovered between 4.8 million and 10 million dollars, according to estimates by French justice.
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