The cement giant LafargeHolcim is being investigated for potential terrorist financing due to their activities in Syria. Lafarge is suspected of paying somewhere between $5 million and $20 million in protection money to armed groups in Syria in order to keep the cement plant open, with an estimated $500,000 paid to the Islamic State. The company also bought raw materials from individuals connected to ISIL or from individuals in ISIL-controlled territory, potentially further supporting the group in this manner. Lafarge also reportedly paid €220,000 to release staff kidnapped in 2012.
To date, Eric Olsen, chief executive of LafargeHolcim until his resignation in April, has been charged, while Jacob Waerness was arrested by French police and later released.
Analysis: Kidnapping for ransom and extortion has been a mainstay of a variety of terrorist groups operating in the Syria-Iraq conflict, including ISIL. Most companies that operate in territory controlled by terrorists will be required to pay some sort of protection money, meaning that most companies that continued to operate in ISIL-controlled Iraq & Syria likely paid the group.