A Luxembourg holding company pays 142,000 euros to 145 Cameroonians opposed to the Bolloré group

2024-03-14 10:34:57

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These 145 Cameroonian residents have been engaged for many years in proceedings against the Société Camerounaise de Palmeraies (Socapalm), which they accuse of being controlled by the Bolloré group through Socfin. According to them, the exploitation of land near where they live prevents them from accessing land and burial sites, and pollutes the waters on which they depend.

As part of an interim order against the group and the Luxembourg holding company in September, an investigative measure under penalty was granted to the 145 plaintiffs by the Versailles Court of Appeal. As early as December 2022, this court considered that the activities of Socapalm were “likely to infringe fundamental rights” applicants “and in particular their right to a healthy environment”.

“Duty of vigilance”

The court then requested the production of documents which could, according to the plaintiffs, prove that Socapalm is controlled by the Bolloré group through Socfin, which would subject the French industrial giant to “duty of vigilance” on its activities. A 2017 law requires the largest companies to prevent serious violations of human rights and the environment among their foreign subcontractors and suppliers.

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Failing to obtain the requested documents, a judge ordered payment to the plaintiffs by Socfin of a penalty of 140,000 euros, to which 2,000 euros have since been added in costs. Then, in February, Cameroonian farmers seized the holding company’s brand, an action validated by bailiffs, to force Socfin to pay, which has now been done.

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