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UK’s richest family sentenced to jail for exploiting servants

Kamal and Prakash Hinduja (far right) meet Princess Anne in 2023.

Kamal and Prakash Hinduja (far right) meet Princess Anne in 2023. Photo: Getty

Four members of the UK’s richest family have received jail sentences after they were found guilty of exploiting servants in Switzerland.

The billionaire Hindujas — with an estimated wealth of $72 billion — are an oil, gas and banking family and owners of London’s Raffles hotel.

Four members of the family to be convicted were Indian-born tycoon Prakash Hinduja and his wife Kamal, their son Ajay and his wife Namrata.

During the trial, which lasted years, they were accused of spending more on their pet dog than employees who worked at their lakeside villa in Geneva.

Servants were sourced from India and were allegedly paid as little as $13 per day to work 18-hour days, seven days a week.

The Hindujas were found guilty of exploitation and handed prison sentences ranging from four years to 4.5 years.

The case was heard in Switzerland, however it’s reported the Hindujas are currently based in Monaco and it’s unclear whether extradition will be sought.

The Hindujas had also been charged with human trafficking due to their practice of hiring illiterate servants from India, but were acquitted.

Instead, prosecutors sought jail sentences over the lesser charge of exploitation.

The case went ahead despite the family reaching an out-of-court settlement with the servants.

Prosecutors claimed the family rarely allowed servants to leave the house in Geneva’s wealthy neighbourhood of Cologny.

Servants were paid wages to their Indian bank accounts in rupees.

Hinduja

Ajay Hinduja and his wife Namrata arrive at the court in Switzerland. Photo: AAP

Prosecutor Yves Bertossa said a budget record showed the family allocated $14,500 annually for their pet dog.

By comparison, one servant’s $13 per day wage equated to less than $5,000 annually.

In the family’s defence, their lawyers said staff were provided with accommodation and were treated respectfully.

“The salary can’t simply be reduced to what they were paid in cash,” said Yael Hayat.

Outside court, their lawyer said the family had been judged on “moral grounds”, not on legal terms.

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