France's top diplomat is pressing a French-Swiss cement manufacturer to rethink its bid to sell the United States material to build President Trump's proposed border wall. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Thursday that while construction giant LafargeHolcim can do what they want as a private company, the company should consider the social responsibility it has and the fact that the move could hurt its business with other clients. "It should reflect upon what its interests are. There are other clients who will be stunned by this," Ayrault told France Info radio. "Lafarge says it doesn't do politics.
Gunmen in southern Nigeria have killed a local driver and kidnapped two Nigerians, three Australians, a New Zealander and a South African working for an Australian mining company, officials said. The abduction happened in the Akpabuyo district near the capital of Cross River state, Calabar, at about 7am on Wednesday, Nigerian police said on Thursday. Those taken were believed to be workers with Australian mining and engineering giant Macmahon, which was contracted to cement company LafargeHolcim in the state, police commissioner Jimoh Ozi-Obeh told reporters. "The police is currently working with the Nigerian Navy to ensure that the victims are released unharmed," he added. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said they are working with Nigerian authorities to free their citizens.
The former chief executive of LafargeHolcim, the world's largest cement maker, and five other top officials are being formally investigated as part of a government inquiry into whether the company helped finance the Islamic State militant group and other armed factions while operating a factory in Syria.
A French-Swiss cement company that recently admitted to channeling funds to armed militants in Syria offered Thursday to help build the U.S.-Mexico border wall proposed by President Donald Trump, TeleSur reported. LafargeHolcim, the world's largest cement company, expressed its desire to be a partner in the wall's construction, which was officiated in an executive order signed in January by Trump. The firm's CEO Eric Olsen said the wall, intended to stem the flow of illegal immigration from Mexico into the U.S., was "an infrastructure project where we would participate." The announcement came the same day as the company confessed to taking "unacceptable" measures to protect its plant in Syria by paying off armed militants possibly including the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, attempting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad. The company, which is a merger of cement companies Lafarge of France and Holcim of Switzerland, came under investigation by human rights groups Sherpa and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Right as well as nearly a dozen former employees from the plant itself in November over allegations it had worked with militant groups potentially guilty of war crimes in Syria.
PARIS – French investigators are searching the French offices of LafargeHolcim, the world's largest cement maker, as part of an investigation into the group's deals with armed groups in Syria. The Swiss-French cement maker confirmed Tuesday's search at its Paris offices. The company has acknowledged funneling money to Syrian armed organizations in 2013 and 2014 -- allegedly including the Islamic State group -- to guarantee safe passage for employees and supply its multimillion-dollar plant there. Then as now, there were international sanctions against the Islamic State group and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, which are U.N.-designated terror groups. The CEO resigned in April after the company acknowledged dealings with unspecified "sanctioned" groups.