Court of the United Kingdom hears accusations of fraud against the Indian magnate Mallya –

Court of the United Kingdom hears accusations of fraud against the Indian magnate Mallya


LONDON (Reuters) – Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya should be extradited from Britain to his home country to face fraud charges of appeasing the losses of his bankrupt Kingfisher Airlines at a state bank, said a lawyer representing India before a London court on Monday.

Vijay Mallya arrives at the Court of Magistrates of Westminster in London, Great Britain, December 4, 2017. REUTERS / Simon Dawson

Mallya denies any wrongdoing, and a court document shows that his lawyers planned to argue that the case against him he was politically motivated and aimed at quelling public anger in India over the accumulation of bad debts by state lenders.

Mallya, 61, has had business interests ranging from aviation to liquor. He is also the co-owner of the Formula One Force India racing team.

With long, bearded hair, Mallya arrived at the Magistrates Court in Westminster in a blue striped suit and dark glbades with a gold frame.

Upon his arrival, a large crowd of Indian reporters harbaded him, and later when the building was evacuated briefly due to a fire alarm and he had to leave.

The case against Mallya focuses on a series of Kingfisher loans obtained from Indian banks, and in particular from state-owned IDBI. Indian banks want to recover a total of about $ 1.4 billion that the Indian authorities say Kingfisher owes.

Mark Summers, a British lawyer acting for India, told the court at the start of a two-week extradition hearing that he was entitled to conclude that he never intended to return the money loaned by Kingfisher to the IDBI in 2009.

"His company was in intensive care … it was headed in one direction," Summers said. "As I went down, I was going to suffer great losses."


Vijay Mallya arrives at the Magistrates Court of Westminster in London, Great Britain, on December 4, 2017. REUTERS / Simon Dawson [19659012] Summers said that Mallya was facing an election : take those losses with yourself and your luxurious lifestyle, or set them aside.

"The cost of the breach could be borne honestly by the defendant or could be pbaded on to the banks, in particular to a state bank," he said.

Summers said the airline had offered the safety of its brand, a large injection of capital and a commitment to start paying off capital debt in 2011 when it predicted it would be profitable.

"The problem is if those projections were honest," Summers said.

Mallya's defense team had to answer orally later in the hearing.

In a written document prepared before the hearing and seen by Reuters, his lawyers argued that the request for extradition should be rejected due to lack of evidence, the "abusive origins" of the case, the impossibility of a fair trial in India and the conditions of detention are incompatible with British human rights laws.

"It is a case that has been driven in India not by a probative investigation, but by a populist and mistaken feeling that the size of the losses involved in the collapse of Kingfisher Airlines Ltd (KFA) should be indicative of some criminality somewhere, "said the document.

"That sentiment has been stoked in India by politicians all over the world, who will only benefit from the demonization of former KFA senior executives, the bankers who lent it and, most importantly, the man who is now he presents as an embodiment of all the ills of capitalism in contemporary India, Dr. Mallya. "

The judge will have to decide whether there is a prima facie presumption against Mallya and whether the alleged crimes would be crimes in both Britain and India.

Written by Estelle Shirbon; Edition by Andrew Heavens

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