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Vinci announced on Monday the summons on Wednesday by the French courts of its subsidiary Vinci Construction Grands Projets with a view to its possible indictment due to suspicions about working conditions on construction sites in Qatar, which organizes the Football World Cup in from November 20.
The French construction group Vinci announced, Monday, November 7, in a press release the summons by the French justice, Wednesday, of its subsidiary Vinci Constructions Grands Projets “with a view to a possible indictment”, within the framework of a survey of working conditions on building sites in Qatar.
The newspaper Le Parisien had reported on Sunday that such a summons would take place on Wednesday by an examining magistrate from Nanterre.
The written group regrets that “its subsidiary is the subject of an indictment”, anticipating a decision which belongs to the judge on Wednesday. The French company says it refute the accusations, in particular of “forced labor” and “trafficking in human beings”, two weeks before the opening of the Mondial-2022.
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The investigation was opened in November 2019, after complaints from the Sherpa and Committee against Modern Slavery (CCEM) associations, as well as from seven former Indian and Nepalese employees of these sites.
The suspects accuse Vinci, Vinci Construction Grands Projets (VCGP), its Qatari subsidiary Diar Vinci Construction (QDVC) and their representatives, of “reduction into servitude, trafficking in human beings, work incompatible with human dignity, deliberate endangerment, injuries involuntary and concealment” in particular, according to the complaint consulted by AFP at the time.
Vinci “has continued to vigorously refute the claims made against him”
Vinci “has continued to vigorously refute the allegations brought to its meeting concerning construction sites in Qatar carried out by the company QDVC [et] will suffer from operating with justice”, explains the group on Monday in its press release.
According to the NGO Sherpa, the immigrant employees of Vinci who work on the sites of the World Cup work, passport confiscated, between 66 and 77 hours a week. And they would be crammed into cramped rooms with insufficient sanitary facilities, receiving remuneration unrelated to the work provided, threatened with dismissal or dismissal in their country in the event of claims.
“None of the projects awarded to QDVC are related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar” and they were “awarded […] before the organization of this competition was awarded [à ce riche émirat du Golfe]“says Vinci for his part. He recalls that the projects focused “essentially on transport infrastructure”.
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“We tried in vain to convince the magistrate that it was not particularly appropriate after seven and a half years of investigation to consider an indictment in the opening fortnight of the Football World Cup”, reacted Monday with AFP the lawyer of Vinci Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi, who fears “a media tumult”.
“If an indictment were pronounced against Vinci, this would confirm that multinationals are finding it increasingly difficult to hide behind value chains, the fact that it would be ‘too complicated’ to act, and would remind us that legally , voluntary improvement measures do not make it possible to escape the risk of criminal sanction in the event of suspicion of an offence”, retained for its part the NGO Sherpa, at the origin of the complaint with civil action.