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Swiss court hands Hindujas jail term in exploitation case

Britain's richest family, which is of Indian origin, is appealing the verdict

Swiss court hands Hindujas jail term in exploitation case
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

A Swiss court has handed jail terms to four members of the UK-based Hinduja family over the exploitation of Indian staff at their Geneva residence.

Prakash Hinduja and his wife, Kamal, were given four-and-a-half-year jail terms and their son Ajay and his wife, Namrata, four-year terms.
The Hindujas, Britain’s richest family and whose fortune is worth £37 billion (about $47 billion), were not present in court but are appealing the verdict.

The charges included the confiscation of passports of their Indian staff once they arrived in Switzerland, and accusations of paying the workers a fraction of the Swiss minimum wage for long working hours — “grueling 18-hour shifts, seven days a week, without employee benefits.”

The family was also accused of “exerting control” over their staff by restricting movement outside their Geneva villa.

The more severe charges of human trafficking were dropped, and it’s uncertain if they will serve any time at all.

The Hindujas denied mistreating their staff, claiming that the workers benefited from their employment and that the prosecutors wanted to “do in the Hindujas”.

The family had reached an out-of-court settlement with the three employees, but the prosecution went ahead with the case owing to the gravity of the charges.

The family’s business manager, Najib Ziazi, received a suspended sentence of 18 months.

The Hinduja Group, which has interests in oil, gas, banking, healthcare, and real estate, is present in 38 countries and employs close to 200,000 people.

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