They spent more on a dog than on servants: Britain's richest family was sued (3 photos)

21 June 2024

The case will be heard in Switzerland, where the billionaire Hinduja family has a villa on Lake Geneva.

Britain's richest family spent more on a dog than on servants who were paid just $8 to work 18 hours a day at their Lake Geneva villa. The Hinduja family, whose personal fortune is estimated at $50 billion, is being sued. A Swiss court will hear a lawsuit in a human trafficking case.

The prosecutor said the document showed the family spent thousands of dollars a year on pets, and the billionaire family's legal team had already said the work-hour claims were "exaggerated."

Prosecutor Yves Bertossa said billionaire Hinduja paid one employee seven Swiss francs, or just $8, for a workday that lasted as much as 18 hours.

Bertossa pointed to a document titled "Pets," which he said shows the family spent 8,584 francs (almost $10,000) a year on their dog.

The prosecutor said the family exploited household staff and restricted their freedom, citing testimony from workers and servants as well as evidence presented during the investigation.

The suit was filed against four family members: businessman Prakash Hinduja, his wife Kamal, their son Ajay and his wife Namrata, whose lawyers said they were dismissing the claims.

The family faces trafficking charges based on allegations that they smuggled employees into and out of Switzerland after their passports were confiscated.

The servants were also not allowed to leave their employer's house without permission and were paid to work in India, meaning they did not have Swiss francs, which the prosecutor said limited their freedom in Switzerland.

The family's legal team says the prosecution is wrong and the servants were treated like family members, even watching movies together.

The billionaires' lawyer also said that official salaries do not reflect the real state of affairs and said that there were also benefits: food and housing. And Hindu servants, in principle, earned much more than if they had worked at home, in India.

The billionaire's son said that he did not know at all how much the servants were paid, since the Hinduja Group in India was recruiting staff.

The trial began Monday after the family and three employees reached a settlement in the civil case last week. However, this week the criminal trial prosecutor Bertossa called for Prakash and his wife to be sentenced to five and a half years in prison, and their son and his wife to be sentenced to four and a half years in prison.

He said the family should also be forced to cover 1 million francs in legal costs and contribute 3.5 million francs to a staff compensation fund.

Who is Prakash Hinduja

The Hinduja family is the richest in Britain, with a net worth of more than £37 billion (about $50 billion).

Prakash is the European chairman of the Hinduja Group, while his elder brother Gopi is the global head of the conglomerate, which includes sectors such as automobiles, oil and banking.

The family also owns luxury properties in London, including the expensive Raffles Hotel in Whitehall, which opened last year and where the most expensive room costs £25,000 a night.

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