LafargeHolcim: deals with armed groups kept Syria plant open

Cement group LafargeHolcim says it made "unacceptable" deals with armed groups in northern Syria to allow its activities there to continue.

In a statement Thursday, the group said an internal investigation has established Lafarge's local branch in Syria provided funds to armed groups via middlemen in 2013 and 2014 to guarantee safe passage for company employees and supply the plant it operated.

Lafarge merged with Swiss company Holcim to create LafargeHolcim, the world's largest cement maker, in 2015.

LafargeHolcim said "in hindsight, the measures taken in order to continue the plant's activity were unacceptable."

French authorities launched an investigation of the company last year after the French Ministry of Economy and Finance filed a complaint against Lafarge. French NGO Sherpa also filed a complaint against Lafarge for allegedly financing terrorism.