International

Hindujas 'Appalled' After Swiss Court Ruling, File Appeal In Higher Court; Confident That 'Truth Will Prevail'

“The family has full faith in the judicial process and remains confident that the truth will prevail,” the statement concluded.

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The UK-based Hinduja family. Photo: X/@Delhiite_
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Britain's wealthiest family, the Hindujas, who were sentenced to prison by a Swiss criminal court, said that they were "appalled" by the ruling. They have filed for an appeal in a higher court against their guilty verdict.

The Hindujas -- Prakash and Kamal Hinduja and their son Ajay and his wife Namrata -- were found guilty of exploiting vulnerable domestic workers from India at their villa in Geneva.

Lawyers from Switzerland, in a statement issued on behalf of the family on Friday, said that they had been acquitted of all human trafficking charges. They also dismissed reports of the family facing detention after the Swiss court's ruling.

The statement signed by lawyers Yael Hayat, Robert Assael and Roman Jordan read, "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."

Citing the Swiss law, they said that presumption of innocence is highly important until a final judgment by the highest adjudicating authority is given. "Contrary to some media reports, there is no effective detention for any members of the family," they said.

The lawyers also noted that the complainants withdrew after declaring to the court that they never intended on being involved in such proceedings.

“The family has full faith in the judicial process and remains confident that the truth will prevail,” the statement concluded.

The hearing in the Swiss court came after prosecutors opened the case for illegal activity, including exploitation, human trafficking and violation of Switzerland's labour laws.

Among other allegations, the Hindujas were accused of seizing the workers' passports, preventing them from leaving the villa and forcing them to work for very long hours for a pittance in Switzerland.

It was also said that some workers allegedly spoke only Hindi and were paid their wages in Indian rupees in their banks back in India, which they couldn't access.

Prosecutors also alleged that the family spent more money on their dog than on their servants. Hindujas legal team opposed the allegations and said that the staff were treated with respect and given accommodation.

As per the 'The Sunday Times Rich List' released last week, the Hinduja family once again emerged as the country's richest, with an estimated wealth of around GBP 37.196 billion.

The tally increase, in comparison to the previous year, came in view of the brand-new luxury OWO Raffles Hotel in the heart of London.

The UK-based family's group of companies, led by GP Hinduja, operates in 48 countries, across several sectors including automotive, oil and specialty chemicals, banking and finance, IT, cyber security, healthcare, trading, infrastructure, project development, media and entertainment, power, and real estate.

(with agency inputs)

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