French cement firm officials charged in Syria funding deals

Three officials with French cement company Lafarge have been placed under investigation for their alleged roles in indirectly funding Islamic extremist groups so that the company could operate in war-torn Syria.

A judicial official said Friday the men were handed preliminary charges of financing a terrorist enterprise and endangering others. They were identified as Bruno P., Frederic J. and Jean-Clause V. The French press widely identifies them as two former plant officials and Lafarge's security chief. The judicial official couldn't be named in keeping with judicial rules.

Lafarge 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 plant.

The wrongdoing precedes Lafarge's merger with Swiss company Holcim two years ago