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Mallya given access to funds from house sale

Vijay Mallya, the fugitive former head of both India’s United Breweries and United Spirits, can access funds from the £2.9m sale of a home in France to support his £22,500-a-month lifestyle in the UK and meet his legal bills in Britain.

The £2.9 million came from the sale of his property Le Grand Jardin in Cannes, which was paid into the court last October.

However, the judge hearing the bankruptcy case against him in the UK refused Mallya permission to use any of the funds to defend himself against insolvency in India where he also faces charges of fraud and money laundering related to £1.15 billion loans to bolster his Kingfisher Airlines which collapsed spectacularly in 2012.

Mallya’s assets have been frozen worldwide by orders from both Indian and British bankruptcy courts hearing the separate cases against him brought by his Indian creditor banks.

Previously the UK court had been told that unless funds were released by the court Mallya’s legal team would no longer represent him due to unpaid fees. Mallya had claimed that he could not pay as two consultancies from which he had been funding his defence had ended.

Separately Mallya is seeking to avoid extradition to India from Britain. His final legal avenue closed last May when the UK Court of Appeal refused an application to hear his case against deportation.

However, that process has been delayed while a “confidential legal matter” is resolved.

That is thought to be an application for political asylum in Britain. His barrister told the High Court last month that Mallya “had applied to the Home Secretary for a status meaning he won’t go back.”

Observers noted that the monthly allowance of £22,500 for living expenses runs only for the next six months.

The London bankruptcy court judge also denied Mallya the £569,000 he requested to fund costs in his ongoing proceedings against Diageo which is suing him for approximately £200 million in unpaid debts it incurred when it took over United Spirits and for breach of agreements when Mallya stood down from the company.

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