LONDON (Reuters) – Indian liquor and aviation magnate Vijay Mallya has a case to answer for allegations of fraud, a London court met Monday at the start of a two-week hearing to determine whether the extravagant businessman should be extradited to India.
The co-owner of the Formula One racing team Force India, Mallya, 61, He is wanted in his home country through a series of loans linked to his extinct Kingfisher Airlines. He has denied all misdeeds.
"We will see that the allegations made by the government give rise to a fraud case," said Mark Summers, the British lawyer representing the Indian authorities, to the Magistrates Court of Westminster.
Mallya, with long hair and beard, arrived at the courthouse in a navy striped suit, dark glbades with gold frames and patent leather shoes.
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 had to go back out into the street. Inside the courtroom, he sat silently on the dock.
Indian banks want to recover about $ 1.4 billion that the Indian authorities say Kingfisher owes.
The Indian government accuses Mallya of fraudulently obtaining and embezzling funds and seeks the extradition of the businessman, who moved to Britain in March of last year.
Summers told the court that Kingfisher had applied for a series of loans in 2009 of 2,000 crore (where crore is 10 million rupees) to pay the creditors.
Requested most of this amount, ultimately, 750 million rupees, from the IDBI bank of the state lender in October 2009.
One week later, the airline requested another short-term loan of 150 million of rupees to cover "critical obligations", "Summers said.
He said the airline had offered the security of its brand, a large additional injection of capital and a commitment to start paying off the capital debt in 2011 when it predicted that it would be profitable.
"The problem is whether those projections were honest," Summers said.
The judge will have to decide whether there is a prima facie case against Mallya and whether the alleged crimes would be crimes in both Britain and the United States. India.
That decision can be challenged in a higher court before being approved by the Minister of the Interior (minister of the interior) for approval. it can be appealed before the courts.
On Sunday night, Mallya attended the Autosport Awards ceremony, a prestigious motor racing event held at the luxurious Grosvenor House Hotel in London. He rubbed elbows with Formula One bosses and other motorsport personalities.
Additional report by Alan Baldwin, edition by Estelle Shirbon