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UK's wealthiest Hinduja family appeals against 'appalling' Swiss court ruling

UK's wealthiest Hinduja family appeals against 'appalling' Swiss court ruling
Courtesy: andriano_cz | iStock Via Getty images

Britain's wealthiest family, the India-born Hindujas, have appealed against a Swiss court ruling against four members found guilty of exploiting vulnerable domestic workers.

Prakash Hinduja and his wife Kamal, along with their son Ajay and his wife Namrata, were, however, cleared in the Geneva court of more serious charges of human trafficking linked to their servants. The court ruled the servants, mostly illiterate Indians who worked at their lakeside villa in the city, knew what they were getting into.

Lawyers Yael Hayat and Robert Assael and Roman Jordan said in a statement: “Our clients have been acquitted of all human trafficking charges. We are appalled and disappointed by the rest of the decision made in this court of first instance, and we have of course filed an appeal to the higher court thereby making this part of the judgement not effective. Under Swiss law, the presumption of innocence is paramount till a final judgement by the highest adjudicating authority is enforced.

"Contrary to some media reports, there is no effective detention for any members of the family. It should also be recalled that the plaintiffs in this case had withdrawn their respective complaints after declaring to the court that they had never intended to be involved in such proceedings.

"The family has full faith in the judicial process and remains confident that the truth will prevail.”

 The four family members were sentenced to between four and four-and-a-half years in prison, which is now a subject of appeal. The four were accused of seizing workers' passports, paying them in rupees - not Swiss francs - barring them from leaving the villa and forcing them to work very long hours for a pittance in Switzerland, among other things. In their defence, the Hinduja family's legal team said the staff were treated respectfully and provided with accommodation.

The Hinduja family had once again topped the latest edition of ‘The Sunday Times Rich List’ last month, with an estimated fortune of around £37.196 billion. 

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