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Ex-United Spirits boss Vijay Mallya gets extra six months to pay back billions in debt

Vijay Mallya, the disgraced former head of Indian drinks group United Spirits, has been given a further six months to pay back more than £1 billion in debt claimed by a group of banks after the collapse of his airline.

(Photo: Wiki)

For at least two years Vijay Mallya has said he is eager to repay his Indian creditors. Now, a London judge has given him more time to do so.

While Mallya, the fugitive former head of United Breweries and United Spirits, has been fighting extradition to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering, he has also been combating bankruptcy actions in both India and London.

On Thursday 9 April Chief Insolvency and Companies Court Judge John Briggs gave Mallya “at least a further six months” to repay the £1.05 billion claimed by a consortium of Indian banks following the collapse of Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines in 2012.

The judge said the petition was “by any measure extraordinary” given that similar action was underway to recover the funds in India and he thus adjourned the hearing.

He said the banks had “failed to disclose their security over the assets of Mallya” … although he concluded that in part they were secured creditors.

Mallya has petitioned the Supreme Court of India and the Karnataka High Court with proposals to settle the debts, which the judge said “stand a reasonable prospect of success”. If that were to be achieved “there would be no liability under the personal guarantee” [from Mallya].
“It is difficult to see what reasonable basis the banks may have for rejecting the offers”, he said.

Indian authorities have seized Mallya’s assets, and he has asked the government on several occasions to “take the money”. It is acknowledged that he has sufficient wealth to discharge his debts.

Meanwhile, Mallya is awaiting an Appeal Court ruling on whether the order in December 2018 from Westminster Magistrates to extradite him to India should be executed. The formal hearing finished at the end of February

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