Members of UK’s Wealthy Hinduja Family Face Jail for Exploitation

The Hindujas are the wealthiest family in Britain, and four of its relatives have been jailed for taking advantage of the Indian workers at their Geneva estate. 

The Hinduja family, whose wealth is estimated at £37 billion, faced many accusations but were found not guilty of the most severe offense of human trafficking. Ajay and Namrata Hinduja were given four-year sentences, while Prakash and Kamal Hinduja were given four years and six months apiece. 

The family was accused of allegedly seizing the passports of their “slaves” upon their arrival in Switzerland, a practice that originated from their home in India. The three workers who accused the Hindujas opted to press charges despite a secret out-of-court deal the couple had agreed with them. The case revolved around the unlawful exploitation of domestic helpers who the Hindujas and their wives engaged to undertake mundane jobs such as cooking, cleaning, and child care.

According to the allegations, the elderly matriarch Kamal fostered the ‘environment of dread’ at the property. She forbade her staff from leaving without her approval and had their paychecks transferred to Indian banks in rupees, which they couldn’t access from Europe. The family often renewed short-term Schengen visas to allow Indian nationals entrance. 

A pattern of illegal activity has persisted for twenty years, including the terrible treatment of employees. After the Hinduja family’s reputation came under scrutiny during the police inquiry, the focus of the family’s attention shifted to managing that image. 

Due to the fact that the four Hindujas’ employees were aware of the financial conditions of their work when they signed contracts in India, the panel of judges determined that, while they were convicted of exploitative employment practices, they were not guilty of human trafficking. The family was also forced to pay 270,000 Swiss francs (£240,000) in legal expenses and 850,000 Swiss francs (£750,000) in compensation on top of their prison terms.

Authorities in Switzerland have just confiscated a platinum necklace, rubies, diamonds, and other valuables belonging to the family, suggesting that their legal troubles are just beginning. Prakash, Ajay, and their spouses have all committed to appealing the decision in a Swiss tax lawsuit that is currently ongoing.