U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres placed his new technology chief on administrative leave Thursday, just days after announcing the appointment, while the globalist body investigates a series of accusations of abuse of authority and harassment.
Guterres told a news conference the allegations against Fabrizio Hochschild are being investigated by the U.N.´s internal watchdog, the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).
This is the same group instigated in 2018 when the UK Guardian published a report alleging “the United Nations has allowed sexual harassment and assault to flourish in its offices around the world, with accusers ignored and perpetrators free to act with impunity.”
Complaints were filed by three women who worked with Hochschild in his recent jobs, the latest coordinating preparations for the commemoration of the United Nations´ 75th anniversary, according to U.N. officials speaking anonymously because the allegations have not been made public.
“I hope that the investigation will be quickly conducted,” Guterres said. “One thing I can guarantee is that there is zero tolerance and, from my perspective, there will always be zero tolerance in relation to sexual harassment or other forms of harassment.”
Guterres said he only learned of the allegations on Tuesday — four days after the announcement of the veteran Chilean U.N. official´s appointment as the first envoy for technology.
According to U.N. officials, the allegations by the three women were known weeks earlier.
The accusers filed complaints with (OIOS) in the past two months accusing Hochschild of abuse of authority and harassment in 2019 and 2020, according to three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The complaints allege Hochschild created a toxic work environment through bullying, aggressive outbursts, inappropriate remarks and phone calls and messages at all hours, the three sources told Reuters.
A graduate of Oxford University, Hochschild began his U.N. career in 1988 working for the U.N. refugee agency in Sudan.
Before his latest post he served as assistant secretary-general for strategic coordination in Guterres´office. He also held U.N. posts in the Central African Republic, Colombia and Geneva.
The Associated Press contributed to this story