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4 members of UK's richest family convicted of exploiting servants at Swiss mansion

Cameron Manley   

4 members of UK's richest family convicted of exploiting servants at Swiss mansion
  • A Swiss court convicted four members of the UK's richest family of exploiting staff at their Geneva villa.
  • The family was given sentences ranging from four to four-and-a-half years.

A Swiss court has convicted four members of the UK's richest family of exploiting staff at their Geneva mansion.

The court found Prakash Hinduja, his wife Kamal, their son Ajay, and Ajay's wife Namrata guilty of exploitation and illegal employment, the BBC reported.

They were given sentences ranging from four to four-and-a-half years, the report said.

More serious charges of human trafficking were dismissed.

The ruling followed claims by three workers at the villa that the family had taken their passports, paid them as little as $8 to work 18-hour days, and barred them from leaving the house, which is located in Geneva's wealthy Cologny neighborhood — a hot spot for wealthy buyers that has attracted the heirs to several fortunes, including Chanel and Peugeot, per Mansion Global.

The workers, who were brought to Switzerland from India, also received little or no vacation time and slept in the basement, sometimes on a mattress on the floor, the Associated Press reported.

Lawyers representing the family said they would appeal the decision, per the BBC.

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

The Hinduja family

The family has a net worth of £37.196 billion, which is just over $47 billion, making them the UK's wealthiest family, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2024.

Prakash and his three brothers lead a family conglomerate that has interests in finance, healthcare, real estate, media, energy, and information technology, among other areas. Their companies operate across 48 countries, per the report.

The family owns the five-star luxury Raffles Hotel in London, where the cheapest room usually costs more than £1,000 (around $1,200) a night, and the most expensive, the Haldane suite, can cost £25,000 (roughly $31,600) a night.

The family also owns a 25-bedroom mansion on Carlton House Terrace, an exclusive street overlooking St James's Park in central London.

In 2015, Gopichand Hinduja, Prakash's brother, told the Times of London that the family did not spend more than one in five nights at the 67,000-square-foot home due to fears that it may bring them bad luck.

"Indians are very sentimental, emotional and they believe in omens and good luck," Gopichand Hinduja said.

"Although this has been built for the whole family, my wife and the family don't want to move here because they say that [our old house] has good luck . . . I can tell you the occupancy [here] is not more than 20 per cent," he added.


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