Embattled Mallya spends £16k a month on fleet of cars

Vijay Mallya, the former head of India’s United Spirits, spends £16,000 a month on maintaining his fleet of cars while his overseas assets, outside of India, total just $114 million, his legal team told the High Court in London yesterday.

His lawyers were applying for have the freeze on his global assets to be discharged. Last November the UK court had registered an Indian debt tribunal judgment that Mallya owed a consortium of 13 Indian banks about £1.2 billion, including interest, and froze his assets worldwide up to the value of £1,145 billion

The Indian banks object to Mallya being allowed weekly living expenses of £18,000 while the freeze is in force. Nicholas Peacock QC, representing Mallya, told the court. “That £18,000 is a result of the lifestyle he has from being successful and it is largely down to the £16,000 a month he pays to maintain his cars to preserve the value of their equity,” he said.

Peacock said there was no solid evidence Mallya would salt away assets or flout court orders.

“He has made extensive attempts over an extended period to settle the claims and meet the debt,” Peacock said.

“There is enough money to go round once his assets are realised, and he is willing to make it go round, but he has been frustrated by the attachment orders obtained by the Indian government institutions that have been maintained against all apparent common sense.
“On any view he has engaged in good faith, made sensible and commercial suggestions as a basis for negotiation. At no stage can it be said he was avoiding his obligations,” Peacock said.

While that hearing continues, Mallya still awaits a ruling from Westminster Magistrates Court on whether volumes of submissions from the Indian authorities will be admitted as evidence in his fight to avoid extradition to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering.

While he has always rejected all charges against him, he fled to the UK in March 2016, just hours before an arrest warrant was issued in India. He claims he is the victim of a political witch hunt.

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