Family Allegedly Spent 3 Times as Much on Dog Than Servant

Four members of Hinduja family, the UK's richest, accused of human trafficking in Geneva
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2024 1:50 PM CDT
Family Allegedly Spent 3 Times as Much on Dog Than Servant
Prakash Hinduja, chairman of Hinduja Group Europe, attends the Horasis Global Meeting in Switzerland on April 7, 2019.   (Wikimedia Commons/Richter Frank-Jurgen)

Four members of Britain's richest family allegedly spent more money on their pet dog than they paid to a servant, who received less than $8 per day for up to 18 hours of work, seven days a week. The members of the Hinduja family, worth some $47 billion, are on trial for exploitation and human trafficking in Geneva, Switzerland, where they own a villa on Lake Geneva, reports the Independent. Prosecutors say 78-year-old Prakash Hinduja, his wife Kamal, their son Ajay, and his wife Namrata imported servants from India, seized their passports, then banned them from leaving the house without permission. These servants reportedly worked up to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, caring for the home and children.

In court this week, prosecutor Yves Bertossa noted the family spent almost $10,000 a year, or a little more than $27 per day, caring for their dog, yet paid some servants less than $8 per day. Yael Hayat, a lawyer for Ajay Hinduja, didn't deny the wage but said employees also received accommodation and food, per the BBC and Independent. Hayat also contested the claim that servants worked up to 18 hours a day. "When they sit down to watch a movie with the kids, can that be considered work? I think not," she said, per the Telegraph.

Former servants testified that the Hindujas treated them with dignity and respect, but Bertossa called attention to staff contracts without mention of working hours or days off, per the BBC. He's called for 5.5 years in prison for Prakash and Kamal and 4.5 years for Ajay and Namrata, plus millions of dollars in compensation, per the Telegraph. A financial settlement was reached in a civil case last week, per the BBC. The criminal case continues despite the family's claims of ignorance. Hayat said her client knew little of the hiring practices, which were managed by India's Hinduja Group. Lawyers also claimed the family improved its practices so that they now adhere to local regulations. (More human trafficking stories.)

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