Alongside seven other people affiliated with the management of French cement producer Lafarge, Jacob Wærness has been accused of paying money to terrorist organizations in order to keep the factory in war-torn Syria running.
The 40-year-old Jacob Wærness, a former employee of the Police Security Service (PST), has been arrested in France for purportedly paying off terrorists in Syria, Norwegian TV2 reported.
Between 2011 and 2013, Wærness served as security chief at the French cement manufacturer Lafarge which had a factory in Jalabiya in the vicinity of Aleppo in northern Syria. After Syrian government forces pulled out of the area in 2011, Lafarge reportedly had to forge contacts with several “combatant groups.” At the same time, Daesh* began to operate in the area.
Wærness, who speaks Arabic and was the company’s security manager at that time, is accused of having been engaged in illegal contact with various rebel groups in Syria. According to the investigators, Wærness is also the first public official to admit that the Syrian branch of Lafarge gave money to terrorist groups, first in a book that came out in Norway in 2016 and then in several subsequent interviews.
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In a much-talked about interview with Norwegian national broadcaster NRK, though, Wærness rejected paying money directly to terrorists.