UK’s Wealthiest Family Members Sentenced for Exploiting Workers in Switzerland

Four members of the UK’s wealthiest family have been sentenced to prison for exploiting staff brought over from India to work at their Geneva villa. Prakash and Kamal Hinduja, along with their son Ajay and his wife Namrata, were found guilty of exploitation and illegal employment by a Swiss court, receiving sentences ranging from four to four-and-a-half years. They were acquitted of the more severe charge of human trafficking.

The defendants’ lawyers have announced plans to appeal the ruling. “I’m shocked. We’re going to fight it to the bitter end,” said Robert Assael, their attorney, outside the court.

Three workers from India alleged they were paid as little as £7 ($8) for 18-hour days—less than a tenth of the legal requirement in Switzerland—and had their passports confiscated. They also claimed that the family, whose fortune is estimated at around £37 billion, rarely allowed them to leave the house in Geneva’s affluent Cologny neighborhood. During the trial, prosecutors accused the family of spending more on their dog than on their servants.

The defense argued that the employees received substantial benefits, were not isolated, and were free to leave the villa. “The employees were grateful to the Hindujas for offering them a better life,” Assael contended.

Prakash and Kamal Hinduja, both over 70, did not attend the court proceedings, citing ill health. Ajay and Namrata attended the trial but were absent for the verdict. Following the decision, the prosecution requested immediate detention for Ajay and Namrata, which the judge denied. The defense stated that Kamal Hinduja is currently hospitalized in Monaco, with the other family members by his side.

This case is not an isolated incident in Geneva, a city known for its international organizations and affluent residents. Last year, four domestic workers from the Philippines filed a case against a diplomatic mission to the United Nations in Geneva, alleging they had not been paid for years.

The Hinduja family owns the Hinduja Group, a multinational conglomerate with interests in oil, gas, and banking. They also own the Raffles hotel in London.


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