Lafarge S.A. pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to support ISIS.
Hundreds of Yazidi-Americans filed a civil lawsuit Friday against French conglomerate Lafarge S.A. for conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State.
Lafarge pleaded guilty last year in Brooklyn federal court to engaging in a criminal conspiracy to support ISIS and another terrorist group, the Al-Nusra Front. From August 2013 to November 2014, LaFarge and LaFarge Cement Syria knowingly and willfully agreed to make and authorize payments for the benefit of armed groups in Syria, the company conceded.
The civil lawsuit was filed by Nobel Prize winner Nadia Murad and more than 400 members of the Yazidi ethnic and religious group – all American citizens – who survived a “campaign of genocide” against the Yazidi population of Iraq by ISIS, which the lawsuit said included mass executions, abductions, torture, sexual violence, the use of child soldiers, and the destruction of the Yazidi homeland.
“When ISIS attacked Sinjar, my family was killed, and I was taken captive as a slave. I was exploited and assaulted every single day until my escape,” Murad said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “Unfortunately, my story is not unique among Yazidis. It is the reality of thousands of Yazidi women. Even more tragic is that our horror took place under the awareness of and thanks to the support of powerful corporations like Lafarge.”
The plaintiffs are represented by Amal Clooney and Lee Wolosky at Jenner & Block LLP.
“It is shocking that a leading global corporation worked hand in hand with ISIS while ISIS was executing American civilians and committing genocide against Yazidis. We hope that this case will send a clear message that supporting terrorists cannot be ‘business as usual’ and that there will be justice for the victims,” Clooney said.
Lafarge admitted in October 2022 to a conspiracy that aided ISIS by providing millions of dollars in cash. Its now-defunct cement company in Syria was alleged to have provided ISIS with cement to construct underground tunnels and bunkers used to shelter fighters and hold hostages, including captured Yazidis, the lawsuit said.
Lafarge pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to terrorist organizations. Lafarge S.A. and its subsidiary admitted they paid nearly $6 million to ISIS and Al-Nusra Front and knowingly funded their acts of coordinated violence.
As part of its guilty plea, Lafarge agreed to pay nearly $800 million in fines and forfeiture to the United States. At the time, the company said in a statement that it regretted “the conduct occurred,” that it was cooperating with investigators and that the responsible employees were “separated from the company since 2017.”
“Lafarge paid millions to ISIS, which committed genocidal atrocities on innocent civilians,” Wolosky said. “While last year’s guilty plea was unprecedented, it is not enough. Lafarge needs to be held to account by those harmed by its unlawful conduct.”