French prosecutors have reportedly launched a preliminary inquiry into allegations that France’s leading construction company and a major global player, Vinci, is using forced labor on building projects for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The investigation, which began in mid-April, aims to verify claims made by the non-governmental group Sherpa, prosecutor Catherine Denis told AFP on Saturday. Sherpa, whose mission is to protect and defend victims of financial crimes, has filed a claim in a French court against Vinci and its Qatari subsidiary QDVC for “forced labor”, “servitude” and “concealment”.
The allegations have been denied by the construction giant. According to the prosecutor, a larger probe involving investigations in Qatar could be subsequently opened if found warranted.
“There more than 1 million of them coming from the Philippines, India, Nepal and Bangladesh on the promise of a hefty salary. Many find only death. Others are forced to work in terrible conditions, and risk their lives daily in huge infrastructure projects for a pittance. This currently takes place in Qatar, the richest country in the world, on building projects for the 2022 World Cup,” Sherpa wrote on its website.