+

Swiss Court Sentences Hinduja Family Members For Exploiting Domestic Staff At Geneva villa

A Swiss court has handed down sentences to four members of the billionaire Hinduja family for exploiting domestic workers at their luxurious villa in Geneva. The court ruled that the family members, prominent figures in a global industrial conglomerate, were guilty of providing unauthorized employment and exploiting their employees, mostly Indian nationals. The criminal court […]

Swiss Court Sentences Hinduja Family Members For Exploiting Domestic Staff At Geneva villa
Swiss Court Sentences Hinduja Family Members For Exploiting Domestic Staff At Geneva villa

A Swiss court has handed down sentences to four members of the billionaire Hinduja family for exploiting domestic workers at their luxurious villa in Geneva. The court ruled that the family members, prominent figures in a global industrial conglomerate, were guilty of providing unauthorized employment and exploiting their employees, mostly Indian nationals.

The criminal court in Geneva sentenced Indian-born businessman Prakash Hinduja, along with his wife, son, and daughter-in-law, to jail terms ranging up to four and a half years. They were found guilty of confining workers, paying them below Swiss legal standards, and coercing them into excessively long working hours under harsh conditions. Despite these findings, the court cleared them of charges related to illegal human trafficking, citing that the workers were aware of the terms of their employment.

The trial, which concluded without the presence of the accused family members but with their business manager Najib Ziazi attending, highlighted disturbing details of exploitation. Workers, including cooks and house help, allegedly endured grueling work schedules of up to 18 hours a day with minimal to no time off, earning wages far below Swiss legal requirements and receiving payments in Indian rupees.

Prosecutors painted a stark picture of a “climate of fear” enforced by the family, with workers reportedly having their passports confiscated and facing restrictions on movement. Some employees were said to have slept in the villa’s basement, often on mattresses laid directly on the floor. The court’s decision also revealed previous convictions against Prakash Hinduja for similar offenses in 2007, underscoring a pattern of mistreatment of employees without proper documentation.

As part of the legal fallout, Swiss authorities have seized assets belonging to the Hinduja family, including valuable diamonds and rubies, to cover legal costs and potential penalties. Meanwhile, a separate tax case against Prakash Hinduja is still pending.

The case drew further scrutiny after Swiss prosecutor Yves Bertossa highlighted that the family reportedly spent more on their pet dog than on one of their domestic workers. Bertossa’s prosecution argued vehemently for severe sentences, based on testimonies from the staff and detailed financial evidence that exposed stark disparities in treatment and compensation.

The verdict has sparked debate and condemnation, resonating beyond Switzerland due to the global stature of the Hinduja family and the grave nature of the charges. The case underscores ongoing concerns over labor exploitation and highlights the challenges faced by migrant workers in affluent households worldwide.

Tags:

exploiting their employeesGeneva villaHinduja FamilyTDGThe Daily Guardian