Four members of the United Kingdom’s billionaire Hinduja family were sentenced to prison terms ranging from four to four-and-a-half years by a Swiss court for exploiting their Indian domestic workers, the Associated Press reported.

They were, however, not found guilty of human trafficking by the court as the prosecution had alleged.

The court found that the four members – Prakash Hinduja and his wife Kamal, and their son Ajay and daughter-in-law Namrata – guilty of providing unauthorised employment, giving meagre health, if any, benefits and paying wages that were less than one-tenth the pay for such jobs in Switzerland, reported AP.

The court also sentenced Najib Ziazi, the family’s business manager, a jail term of 18 months.

According to the prosecutors, the domestic workers alleged that Kamal Hinduja had constituted a “climate of fear”. Working at the Indian-born business tycoon’s lakeside villa in Geneva, the workers were forced to work with little or no vacation time and worked even later hours for receptions.

They slept in the basement, sometimes on a mattress on the floor.

The Swiss authorities have seized diamonds, rubies, a platinum necklace and other jewellery and assets in anticipation that they could be used to pay for legal fees and possible penalties.

The lawyers of the Hinduja family members said that they will appeal the court’s decision, reported AP.

“The health of our clients is very poor, they are elderly people,” said Robert Assael, a lawyer for Kamal Hinduja. He added that Kamal Hinduja was in intensive care and the family was with her.

At a previous hearing, the prosecutors had alleged that the Hindujas confiscated the passports of the domestic workers, and did not allow them to leave the house without permission, reported Bloomberg.

The salaries of the workers were paid in India, because of which they had no Swiss francs to spend, prosecutor Yves Bertossa alleged.

“They spent more for one dog than one of their servants,” the prosecutor said, according to Bloomberg. He then showed a budget document titled “Pets” to show that the family spent 8,584 Swiss francs (Rs 8.09 lakh) annually on their family dog.

The prosecutor also told the court that an Indian domestic worker at Hinduja household was at one point paid as little as seven Swiss francs (Rs 660) for a working day that lasted as long as 18 hours.

In 2007, Prakash Hinduja was convicted by a Swiss court on similar charges. He is also facing charges of tax evasion of more than 125 million francs (Rs 1,169 crore) by Swiss authorities in a case that is pending, AP reported.