Welshman becomes head of global trade union movement after man elected leader is arrested amid ‘Qatargate’ scandal
A Welshman has become the interim head of the global trade union movement after the man previously elected to lead the organisation was arrested amid the ‘Qatargate’ corruption scandal.
Deputy General of the International Trade Union Confederation, Owen Tudor, will now fulfil the functions of the General Secretary while the ITCU discusses the next steps.
Owen Tudor, whose roots are in Cardiff, spoke with Nation.Cymru just last month about whether First Minister Mark Drakeford should visit Qatar, urging him to raise human rights abuses while there.
The man elected General Secretary just weeks before at a conference in Melbourne, Luca Visentini, has been conditionally released after being one of six people arrested by Belgian police on Monday.
Belgian prosecutors said earlier this week only that they suspected a “Gulf country” of seeking to influence officials. Belgian newspaper Le Soir later reported the country in question to be World Cup host Qatar.
But World Cup host Qatar has denied any claims of misconduct as “gravely misinformed”.
Greek MEP Eva Kaili, now former vice-president of the European Parliament, was also arrested by Belgian Federal Police following the investigation into organized crime, corruption and money laundering tied to lobbying efforts in support of Qatar.
Belgian investigators found bags containing €1.5m (£1.3m) in a flat, a house and a suitcase at a hotel.
In a statement the ITCU said: “ITUC General Secretary Luca Visentini has stepped aside from his post, effective 14 December, pending a specially convened meeting of the ITUC General Council next week that will discuss the situation and decide what steps to take.
“In the interim, Deputy General Secretary Owen Tudor, re-elected at the ITUC Congress in Melbourne last month, will fulfil the functions of the General Secretary in line with the ITUC’s rules.”
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