EFTA countries sign revised agreement with Chile

EFTA countries sign revised agreement with Chile
EFTA countries sign revised agreement with Chile

The four members of the wealthy Indian family Hinduja were not guilty of human trafficking. The Geneva Criminal Court acquitted them of this charge on Friday. On the other hand, they were condemned for professional usury.

Patriarch Prakash Hinduja (79 years old) and his wife Kamal (75 years old) were sentenced to four and a half years in prison. Their daughter-in-law Namrata (50) and their son Ajay (56) received four years in prison. None of the family members Hinduja did not attend the trial hearing.

Defense lawyers announced in a statement that they were appealing, saying: “The family has full confidence in the legal process and remains confident that the truth will prevail.”

The court considered that Indian domestic workers who were in the service of the family Hinduja in the house she owns in Cologny were not forced to come and work in Switzerland. They knew what to expect when they went to the banks of Lake Geneva.

On the other hand, they received paltry salaries, even taking into account the fact that they were fed and housed. Their freedom of movement was reduced. Their passports were held by the Hinduja. They slept in a room in the basement of the house, without daylight and which could only be ventilated by opening the door.

Abuse of weakness

For the judges, the family Hinduja clearly abused the weak situation of these Indian employees, some of whom were illiterate. Their salary in Indian rupee was paid in India. It averaged 325 francs per month. Adding benefits in kind, it fluctuated between 1000 and 1400 francs.

Compared to customs in Switzerland, this disproportion of salary is “extreme”, notes the court. The latter calculated that by exploiting their Indian domestic staff in their service in Cologny in this way, the Hinduja were able to enrich themselves by 2.5 million francs over a period from June 2009 to April 2018.

The court repeatedly emphasized that Hinduja obtained Swiss nationality. As Swiss citizens, they acted with full knowledge of the facts. In addition, they were surrounded by advisors familiar with the regulations. They could not hide behind Indian practices. “Their fault is very heavy.”

The judges also condemned the Hinduja to the payment of a compensatory debt of 850,000 francs. A sum which should make it possible to compensate injured employees and which is added to the agreement that the defendants entered into during the trial with the complaining parties with the aim of repairing the wrongs they suffered.

Request for arrest

The parents Hinduja did not take part in their trial, citing health reasons. On the other hand, the son and daughter-in-law were present from the start of the debates. They only failed on Friday, at the time of the verdict. The first prosecutor Yves Bertossa asked the court for their detention.

According to their lawyers, Ajay and Namrata are currently in Monaco at Kamal’s bedside Hinduja. She was placed in intensive care, they said. The court considered that the public prosecutor’s request for detention was not justified. The couple is based in Switzerland and the risk of escape is minimal.

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