Swiss court sentences Prakash Hinduja, 3 family members to 4.5 years in jail - Hindustan Times
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Swiss court sentences Prakash Hinduja, 3 family members to 4.5 years in jail

Jun 21, 2024 10:14 PM IST

The Swiss criminal court threw out severe charges of human trafficking against Prakash Hinduja and his family members

A Swiss court on Friday sentenced Indian-born business tycoon Prakash Hinduja and three other members of his family to four and a half years in prison after finding them guilty of exploiting their domestic workers. The court threw out the severe charges of human trafficking, AP reported.

Indian-Swiss billionaire family members Namrata Hinduja (L) and Ajay Hinduja (2ndR) arrive at the Geneva's courthouse with their lawyers Yael Hayat (C) and Robert Assael (R).(AFP file photo)
Indian-Swiss billionaire family members Namrata Hinduja (L) and Ajay Hinduja (2ndR) arrive at the Geneva's courthouse with their lawyers Yael Hayat (C) and Robert Assael (R).(AFP file photo)

Besides Hinduja, his wife Kamal, son Ajay and daughter-in-law Namrata, were accused of trafficking of their servants, mostly illiterate Indians who were working at their lakeside villa in the Swiss city Geneva. 

ALSO READ: The billionaire Hinduja family: Who they are, their companies, and the scandal

The fifth accused Najib Ziazi, the Hinduja family's business manager, was handed an 18-month suspended sentence. 

According to the report, the court found the Hindujas guilty of exploiting their workers and providing ‘unauthorised’ employment. Besides this, the family was accused of seizing their staffs' passports, paying them in rupees and not Swiss Francs, preventing them from leaving the villa and forcing them to work long hours in Switzerland. 

Last week, it was reported that the Hindujas had made an undisclosed settlement with the plaintiffs. 

The prosecutors had opened the case of alleged illegal activity including exploitation, human trafficking and violation of Swiss labour laws, the report added.

ALSO READ: Ajay Hinduja on Swiss human-trafficking trial says nanny was like ‘second mum’

According to the AP report, Swiss authorities have already seized diamonds, rubies, a platinum necklace and other jewelry and assets from the Hindujas in anticipation that they could be used to pay for legal fees and possible penalties.

According to the prosecutors, the workers were forced to work up to 18 hours a day with little or no vacation time off and for pay that was equal to less than one-tenth of the comparable amount required under Swiss law.

The employees claimed to have worked later for receptions and made to sleep in the basement of the villa. They alleged a ‘climate of fear’ under Prakash Hinduja's wife Kamal. The employees spoke only in Hindi and were paid wages in Indian currency in banks back home that they were unable to access. 

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