*** ----> UK’s richest family get jail terms for exploiting staff at Swiss villa | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

UK’s richest family get jail terms for exploiting staff at Swiss villa

AFP | London

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

A Swiss court handed jail sentences to four members of Britain’s richest family yesterday, branding them “selfish” for exploiting Indian staff at their Geneva mansion.

The Hindujas were acquitted of human trafficking, but convicted on other charges in a stunning verdict for the family, whose fortune is estimated at 37 billion pounds ($47 billion) by the Sunday Times.

Prakash Hinduja and his wife Kamal Hinduja each got four years and six months, while their son Ajay and his wife Namrata received fouryear terms, the presiding judge in Geneva ruled.

They were found guilty of a charge of “usury” for taking advantage of their vulnerable immigrant staff to pay them a pittance. “The employees’ inexperience was exploited.

They had little education or none at all and had no knowledge of their rights,” presiding Sabina Mascotto said in her judgement.

“The defendants’ motives were selfish,” she said, adding that the Hindujas were motivated “by the desire for gain”.

Lawyers for the members of the Swiss-Indian family -- who were not present in court -- said they would appeal the verdict.

The court acquitted them of the more serious charge of human trafficking, on the grounds that the workers had travelled to Switzerland willingly.

During the trial the family were accused of bringing servants from their native India and confiscating their passports once they got to Switzerland.