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New Zealand

Eleven bar owner accused of exploiting restaurant staff

The owners of two Indian restaurants in Dunedin face up to seven years in prison after being accused of “gross failure” in paying their employees.

Prakash Khatri, 45, recently made headlines as one of the troubled owners of Dunedin’s Eleven Bar, which is suffering from serious mismanagement, excessive drinking and Covid-19 measures. He was stripped of his liquor license this month due to evidence of blatant protocol violations.

Mr Khatri appeared in Dunedin District Court this morning on 12 charges related to another of his companies, Everest Food New Zealand Limited.

The Companies Authority lists the defendants as the sole director and shareholder of the business behind India Garden Restaurants in Cromwell and Dunedin.

The Dunedin facility has since closed.

The defendants have been accused of “gross negligence” from 2017 to 2021, failing to pay six employees due under the Holidays Act and the Minimum Wage Act.

Three of the plaintiffs were based in Cromwell and three worked in Dunedin.

The court documents did not detail the total amount of the alleged shortfall.

One of the employees, all of whom entered on temporary entry class visas, was allegedly defrauded while working for the company on the former Hanover Street site for four and a half years.

Khatri appeared before a registrar in court today and was granted bail without objection.

Among the bail conditions were no contact with 10 people (witnesses or accusers), and no travel outside New Zealand unless evidence of a return ticket could be presented to the court.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a fine of $100,000.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Employment, which has accused Khatri and Everest Food, has been reached for comment.

https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/crime/eleven-bar-owner-accused-exploiting-restaurant-staff Eleven bar owner accused of exploiting restaurant staff

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