Mallya appeal case: The saga continues

Vijay Mallya, the fugitive former head of both United Spirits and United Breweries in India, still does not know whether he will be extradited to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering involving £1.15 billion.

His three-day appeal against last year’s extradition order was told by the two presiding judges, Lord Justice Stephen Irwin and Justice Elisabeth Laing, that they will deliver their verdict at a later date after considering the “very dense” case.

During the hearing the Mark Summers QC representing the Crown Prosecution Service on behalf of the Indian authorities, claimed there was “overwhelming evidence of dishonesty” on the part of the former Kingfisher Airlines boss.

Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines submitted “absolute and outrageous lies” about projections of profitability and loss while applying for loans in 2009. “What they (Kingfisher Airlines) were saying (to the banks) about profitability going forward was knowingly wrong,” said Summers.

That proposition was challenged by Claire Montgomery QC, representing Mallya. She sought to demonstrate that Westminster Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot had been wrong to find a prima facie case of fraud and money laundering to answer in the Indian courts against Mallya.

The spectacular Kingfisher collapse in 2012 was a simple case of business failure, she contended. Mallya has always maintained that had Kingfisher been allowed to continue trading, it would have become profitable and the loans would have been fully repaid.

Mallya has been on bail of £650,000 since he was arrested in London in April 2017. The three-day hearing was effectively his final legal recourse against the extradition order issued in December 2018 and confirmed by the then Home Secretary a year ago.

It is thought unlikely he would be given leave to appeal to the UK Supreme Court if the extradition order is upheld. That court usually accepts only cases in which a precedent would be set.

If the judgement goes against him, the Home Secretary would be obliged to deport Mallya to India within 28 days.

If he succeeds in overturning the order, Mallya will be free to continue living at his mansion in Tewin, Hertfordshire but his travel options could be limited as the international arrest warrant against him would remain valid in all countries with which India has an extradition treaty.

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