These French corporations that labored in reference to authoritarian regimes – Liberation


A number of massive French teams established overseas have contributed to the instability of sure international locations by financing gear for an authoritarian regime or terrorist teams.

What do TotalEnergies, Amesys, Lafarge and Sofexi have in widespread? These French corporations have all labored instantly or not directly in reference to totalitarian regimes. Burma, Syria, Libya, Tunisia or Egypt: a glance again at how these massive teams have performed a job within the instability of those international locations.

TotalEnergies and the Burmese army

Whereas the French group is accused of complicity within the struggle in Ukraine, TotalEnergies introduced firstly of the 12 months its withdrawal from Burma, pointing the finger “human rights abuses and violations”. This withdrawal was made laboriously beneath stress from human rights NGOs after the army coup of 2021.

Paperwork launched by the world confirmed that an undersea gasoline pipeline linking the Yadana subject to Thailand didn’t solely transport gasoline. A whole bunch of tens of millions of {dollars} have been diverted from the coffers of the Burmese state to an organization managed by the army, the Myanmar Oil and Fuel Enterprise. Due to a system of sharing with the junta arrange by the French oil firm, TotalEnergies was in a position to not directly finance the army by way of offshore accounts in Bermuda earlier than and after the arrival of a democratic regime between 2016 and 2021. Because the coup d State of 2021 in Burma, greater than 2,300 civilians have been killed by safety forces, in accordance with a rely by a neighborhood NGO.

Amesys and cyber surveillance in Libya


In 2013, the Worldwide Federation for Human Rights and the League for Human Rights filed a grievance in opposition to the French group, Amesys (now Nexa Applied sciences). They accused them of getting offered between 2007 and 2011 in Tripoli cyber-surveillance software program to the Gaddafi regime which might have made it potential to trace down Libyan opponents earlier than imprisoning and torturing them.

On-line media had performed the primary investigations on the topic. Nonetheless, it was in 2011, in the midst of the Arab Spring, that the affair broke out. journalists from the wall avenue journal had visited the Tripoli monitoring middle and had found paperwork there in accordance with which Amesys had geared up this middle with an web site visitors evaluation system, making it potential to observe the messages which have been exchanged there.

Amesys had admitted having supplied the Gaddafi regime with “analytical gear”. Nonetheless, the corporate had defended itself in recalling {that a} contract had been signed in a context of “diplomatic rapprochement” with Libya, beneath the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy. The Paris Courtroom of Enchantment will rule on November 21 on whether or not or to not preserve the indictments on this investigation into the sale of cyber-surveillance gear by Amesys to the Gaddafi regime.

The corporate was additionally the topic of suspicion for a similar case however this time in Egypt, beneath the authoritarian regime of Al-Sissi.

Lafarge, indicted for complicity in crimes in opposition to humanity in Syria

In an investigation opened in June 2017, justice suspects Lafarge of getting paid in 2013 and 2014, by way of its subsidiary Lafarge Cement Syria, almost 13 million euros to terrorist teams, together with the Islamic State group, in addition to to intermediaries. These funds, disclosed final 12 months by Launch, have been carried out in an effort to preserve the exercise of a cement manufacturing unit in Syria whereas the nation was going through the Islamic State.

As our investigation had identified, emails exchanged between the cupboard of the Minister of International Affairs on the time, Laurent Fabius, and the French ambassador for Syria, Franck Gellet, had revealed the involvement of French diplomacy within the folder.

The Paris Courtroom of Enchantment confirmed in Could the indictment of the cement group for “complicity in crimes in opposition to humanity”, “financing of terrorist teams” and “endangering the lives of others”.

Tear gasoline, shields and helmets delivered by Sofexi to Tunisia

The French firm Sofexi has been accused of delivering not less than 4 instances between December 2010 and January 2011 tear gasoline, shields and helmets to the Ben Ali regime within the midst of the Jasmine Revolution. These tear gasoline have been utilized by the Tunisian safety forces to repress the inhabitants in full revolt in opposition to the federal government in place. The French firm defended itself in a press launch, arguing that the French state had given the inexperienced gentle: “Sofexi has obtained from the French authorities all the mandatory approvals for the export of tear gasoline canisters ordered between December and January by the Tunisian Ministry of the Inside. […] We had all of the approvals of the ministries involved.

The Prime Minister on the time, François Fillon, initially assured that he had given no authorization and affirmed that no legislation enforcement gear had been despatched. Earlier than acknowledging having approved the 4 deliveries, two of which in the course of the repression in Tunisia. And to specify that two different deliveries had been made in mid-January within the absence of a ban on the Quai d’Orsay.

Having obtained all of the authorizations, Sofexi has not been the topic of authorized proceedings and no investigation has been opened on this case.


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