Vinci lawsuit (re forced labour in Qatar)
Snapshot: In 2015, NGOs filed a complaint in France against Vinci Construction Grands Projects over allegations of forced labour, servitude, and concealment in its construction sites for the football World Cup in Qatar. The company denied allegations and sued Sherpa for defamation. In 2018, the prosecutor's office opened a preliminary investigation to check the allegations.
In March 2015, the NGO Sherpa filed a complaint in France against Vinci Construction Grands Projets and the managers of its Qatari subsidiary QDVC over allegations of “forced labour, servitude and concealment” in its construction sites for the football World Cup in Qatar. The company denied allegations and sued Sherpa for defamation.
The NGO filed a criminal complaint on 23 March 2015 before a French tribunal and asked a Paris prosecutor to open an investigation over allegations that migrant workers at Vinci and QDVC’s construction sites in Qatar were subject to forced labour and kept in servitude.
Vinci said that it "absolutely denies the claims made by Sherpa. The group respects local labour laws and fundamental rights in Qatar…". In response to the suit, Vinci filed a defamation lawsuit against Sherpa and its Director, President and Legal adviser.
In April 2015, the prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation to check the allegations, which was dismissed on 31 January 2018. Following this decision, Sherpa indicated that it would lodge a complaint as "civil party" in order to seize an investigating judge.
On 13 May 2015, Vinci filed a lawsuit against Sherpa under summary proceedings for undermining the presumption of innocence. On 30 June 2015, the judge dismissed the case, stating that summary proceedings were not the adequate fora. Vinci brought this matter in front of the trial judge. In June 2017, the Paris Court of Appeals dismissed Vinci's claim.
On 25 November 2019, a judge opened an investigation into allegations of forced labour following a 2018 complaint by the NGOs Sherpa and the Committee against Modern Slavery, and seven ex-workers from India and Nepal.
- France: Vinci Construction investigated over Qatar forced labour claims, Kim Willsher, Guardian (UK), 26 Apr 2015
- French builder Vinci to sue over claims of forced labor in Qatar, Dominique Vidalon & Gilles Guillaume, Reuters, 24 Mar 2015
- French builder Vinci faces claim of forced labor in Qatar, Dominique Vidalon, Reuters, 23 Mar 2015
- VINCI entirely refutes Sherpa’s allegations and decides to file a lawsuit for defamation, 24 Mar 2015