Why Were The Hindujas, Britain's Wealthiest, Sentenced To Jail? Explained

The Hindujas have denied the allegations. The family's legal team has argued in court that the staff were treated respectfully and provided with proper accommodation. The Swiss court has dismissed the more severe charges of human trafficking against the family, stating that the workers had at least some understanding of their working conditions.
Hinduja Family Of UK Sentenced To 4.5 Years Jail Term For Exploiting Indian Workers At Swiss Mansion

The elder Hindujas – Prakash Hinduja (78) and Kamal Hinduja (75) – were each sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison while Ajay and his wife received slightly fewer sentences of 4 years.

Photo : AFP
New Delhi: Four members from he Indian-born billionaire Hinduja family, among Britain's wealthiest, have been sentenced to jail terms up to 4 1/2 years for exploiting their servants. The Hindujas have said that they were "appalled" by the Swiss court's ruling and that an appeal has been filed in a higher court challenging the verdict.
The court based in Geneva found family scion Ajay Hinduja, his wife Namrata, and his parents guilty of paying only a fraction of the standard rate in Switzerland to his staff - most of them hired in India.
The elder Hindujas – Prakash Hinduja (78) and Kamal Hinduja (75) – were each sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison while Ajay and his wife received slightly fewer sentences of 4 years.
In a statement issued through their lawyers, the Hindujas stressed that they had been acquitted of all human trafficking charges and that they will filed an appeal to the higher court "thereby making this part of the judgement not effective".
"Under Swiss law, the presumption of innocence is paramount till a final judgement by the highest adjudicating authority is enforced. Contrary to some media reports, there is no effective detention for any members of the family," they said.
What Are The Charges Against The Hindujas?
The court in the Swiss city of Geneva passed the ruling after prosecutors opened the case for alleged illegal activity including exploitation, human trafficking and violation of Switzerland’s labour laws. The case was based following a raid on properties owned by the Hindujas in 2018 following a tipoff. The Swiss authorities had then seized documents and hard drives that suggested exploitation of workers employed by the family. Some of the documents suggested unauthorised employment and minimal health benefits to the servants.
The Hindujas were accused of seizing the workers’ passports, barring them from leaving the villa and forcing them to work very long hours for a fraction of the standard rate in Switzerland, among other things. Additionally, some of the servants, who only spoke in Hindi, were allegedly paid their wages in rupees in banks back home that they could not access.
The Hindujas have denied the allegations. The family's legal team has argued in court that the staff were treated respectfully and provided with proper accommodation.
The Swiss court has dismissed the more severe charges of human trafficking against the family, stating that the workers had at least some understanding of their working conditions.
Last week, several media houses reported that the family had reached an undisclosed settlement with the plaintiffs. Swiss officials have confiscated diamonds, a platinum necklace, and other jewellery and assets of the family to cover potential legal fees and penalties.
Who Are Hindujas?
Britain’s wealthiest family, the Hindujas, have a collective wealth of approximately $20 billion according to Forbes. The family has interests in finance, media, and energy sectors. They own stakes in six publicly traded Indian companies.
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