Hinduja Family gets over 4-year jail termTop Stories

June 22, 2024 16:22
Hinduja Family gets over 4-year jail term

(Image source from: AFP)

The prosperous Hinduja family faced justice in a Swiss court on Friday. Four family members have been sentenced between 4 and 4.5 years in prison for harassing the domestic workers. The court also rejected the more serious charges of human trafficking. The India-born business tycoon Prakash Hinduja, his spouse, son, and daughter-in-law were accused of trafficking their domestic staff, predominantly poor Indians, who labored at their lavish lakeside villa in Geneva. The family members were absent, but their business manager, Najib Ziazi, attended and received an 18-month suspended sentence. The defendants' lawyers intend to appeal the verdict. The court found the four guilty of worker exploitation and unauthorized employment but dismissed the trafficking charges, stating the staff were aware of their employment terms. The Hinduja family was accused of confiscating workers' passports, paying them in Indian currency rather than Swiss, restricting their movement, and forcing excessive hours for minimal pay in Switzerland. Last week, the court revealed the family had reached an undisclosed settlement with the plaintiffs. The Geneva public prosecutor's office had opened an investigation into possible illegal activities, including exploitation, human trafficking and violations of Swiss labor law.

The Hinduja family has been residing in Switzerland for decades, with Prakash Hinduja previously convicted in 2007 on similar but less serious charges. Despite this, prosecutors claim he continued to employ individuals without proper documentation. The Swiss authorities have confiscated various valuables from the family, including precious stones, a platinum necklace, and other jewelry. This was done to cover potential legal costs and fines. Prosecutors revealed that some staff, like cooks and housekeepers, were sometimes forced to work up to 18 hours daily with little or no time off, earning less than one-tenth of the legally required Swiss wages. Employees were even required to work late during events and often slept in the basement of the villa in the upscale Cologny neighborhood, sometimes on mattresses on the floor. The prosecution described the “climate of fear” created by Kamal Hinduja. Some workers spoke only Hindi and they were paid in Indian rupees deposited in banks in their own country that they did not have access to. There is also another tax case pending against Prakash Hinduja. Prakash obtained Swiss citizenship in 2000 and, along with his three brothers, leads a diversified industrial group involved in sectors such as information technology, media, power, real estate, and healthcare. The company's value is estimated to be around $20 billion, a substantial figure that reflects its significant market presence and growth potential.

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Tagged Under :
Hinduja family  Swiss court