Four members of Britain's richest family handed jail sentences after exploiting servants in Geneva villa

22 June 2024, 08:46 | Updated: 22 June 2024, 08:57

The four individuals were given sentences ranging from four to four-and-a-half years
The four individuals were given sentences ranging from four to four-and-a-half years. Picture: Alamy & Getty

By Will Conroy

Four members of the UK's richest family have received prison sentences after being found guilty of exploiting vulnerable domestic workers at their Geneva villa.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Indian-born Prakash Hinduja, as well as his wife Kamal and their son Ajay and his wife Namrata, were found guilty of exploitation and illegal employment by a Swiss court.

The four individuals were given sentences ranging from four to four-and-a-half years but were acquitted on the more serious charge of human trafficking.

The court ruled the servants, who were mostly illiterate Indians and worked at their lakeside villa in Geneva, knew what they were getting into.

Lawyers representing the defendants said they intend to appeal the ruling.

Robert Assael, the lawyer for the defendants, said: "I'm shocked. We're going to fight it to the bitter end."

Lawyers representing the defendants said they intend to appeal the ruling
Lawyers representing the defendants said they intend to appeal the ruling. Picture: Alamy

Three workers alleged the family had paid them just £7 ($8) to work 18-hour days, less than a tenth of what Swiss law requires.

Prosecutors said a "climate of fear" was brought by Kamal Hinduja with the four defendants also being accused of confiscating workers' passports and preventing them from leaving the house in the wealthy neighbourhood of Cologny.

Employees sometimes worked for even longer for receptions and slept in the basement of the villa, sometimes on a mattress on the floor, said prosecutors.

Namrata and Ajay Hinduja attended proceedings
Namrata and Ajay Hinduja attended proceedings. Picture: Getty

Some workers allegedly spoke only Hindi and were paid their wages in Indian rupees in banks back home that they could not access.

Swiss authorities have already seized jewellery and other assets from the family in anticipation they could be used to pay for legal fees and possible penalties.

Read more: Two charged after Just Stop Oil protesters sprayed private jets with orange paint at Stansted Airport

Read more: Search for missing British teenager in Tenerife hindered by social media conspiracy theories

Prosecutors alleged the family, whose fortune is estimated at around £37bn, spent more on their dog than on their servants.

Mr Assael argued the employees received ample benefits, were free to leave the villa and "were grateful to the Hindujas for offering them a better life".

The family own Raffles hotel in London
The family own Raffles hotel in London. Picture: Alamy

Despite not being present for the verdict, Ajay and Namrata Hinduja had attended court but Prakash and Kamal, who are both over 70, did not attend proceedings, pleading ill health.

There have been previous cases of alleged mistreatment of servants in Geneva. Last year, four domestic workers from the Philippines against one of Geneva’s diplomatic missions to the United Nations, claiming they had not been paid for years.

The Hinduja family topped the 2024 Sunday Times rich list with a combined wealth of £37.196bn.

They own Hinduja Group, a multinational group with interests in oil, gas, and banking, as well as Raffles hotel in London.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

English cricketer James Vince

England cricket star James Vince and his family ‘living in fear’ after their home was attacked twice in middle of the night

Six people were found dead at a luxury hotel in Bangkok died from cyanide

Six people who died 'foaming at the mouth' in five-star luxury Thai hotel were poisoned by drinks laced with cyanide

Live
Britain's King Charles III speaks during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London.

King's Speech Live: Starmer pledges to 'take the brakes off Britain' and 'turbo charge' housebuilding

UK inflation remains unchanged

UK inflation remains unchanged at 2% - holding steady at Bank of England's target rate

Rachel Reeves is facing calls to launch an inheritance tax raid on pension pots

Rachel Reeves faces calls to launch inheritance tax raid on pension pots in bid to raise extra £2 billion a year

Keir Starmer will reform the planning system

Local residents to lose power to block new housing as Starmer vows to 'get rid of brakes on planning system'

Exclusive
The Bibby Stockholm is now almost full with 410 people on board, LBC has learned

Mutiny on the Bibby: Migrants go on hunger strike and protests erupt on ‘hell barge’ Bibby Stockholm

A third pro is said to have been named as a 'person of interest' in the Strictly investigation

'Third Strictly professional dancer named' as 'person of interest' in investigation into abuse and bullying claims

Joe Biden has vowed to outlaw the gun used to shoot at Donald Trump

Joe Biden vows to outlaw assault rifle gunman used to shoot at Donald Trump, as he says 'politics has got too heated'

Police confirmed the human remains belonged to missing teen Jay Slater after a 29-day search

Jay Slater's mother 'wants to see him one last time' after Spanish authorities confirm body found is her missing son

Enzo Fernandez filmed himself and his Argentina teammates singing an offensive song

Chelsea star Enzo Fernandez slammed by teammate Fofana for 'uninhibited racism' after offensive chant

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump

Boris Johnson urges Donald Trump to support Ukraine in one-on-one meeting

Snipers weren't placed on the "sloping roof" used by the shooter who attempted to assassinate Presidential nominee Donald Trump over "safety concerns", the head of the US Secret Service has admitted.

Snipers weren't placed on 'sloping roof' used by would-be Trump assassin over 'safety' concerns

Jay Slater vanished in Tenerife on June 17

GoFundMe gives update on ‘next steps’ for £58,000 Jay Slater fundraiser as teen's body found

King Charles III and Queen Camilla viewing rare Golden Guernsey Goats

Charles and Camilla present royal title to goats saved from the Nazis on visit to Channel islands

Gareth Southgate, an Englishman through and through, is one of our most successful managers

Why the next England manager must be… English