This file photo taken on February 17, 2012 shows French cement giant Lafarge CEO Bruno Lafont talking during a press conference to present the group's 2011 results in Paris. AFP / ERIC PIERMONT
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Did French diplomats know that cement group Lafarge was paying Daesh (ISIS) group to keep its Syria factory open?Lafarge is accused of paying around $15 million between 2011 and 2015 to armed groups including Daesh so that its factory in Jalabiya, northern Syria, could continue to operate despite the war.For two years after most French companies had left Syria, Lafarge hung on to the site until September 2014, when it was seized by Daesh.Since June, three French judges have been investigating indirect money transfers by the company's Syrian subsidiary to Daesh and other militant groups in Syria.Former CEO Bruno Lafont, along with the group's former Syria director Christian Herrault and Eric Olsen, who took over as CEO when Lafarge merged with Switzerland's Holcim, have been charged with financing a terrorist organisation and endangering the lives of others.On Jan. 9, investigators questioned Herrault in the presence of France's former ambassador to Syria, Eric Chevallier, a source close to the inquiry told AFP.
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