Kingfisher tycoon Mallya to face extra charges over unpaid loans
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has lodged supplementary charges against Vijay Mallya, the fugitive former head of United Breweries and United Spirits who already stands accused of money laundering and fraud.
India’s financial investigation agency alleges that Mallya had enough money between the years 2008-20117 to repay the £1.15 billion loans he had taken from a consortium of Indian banks, but chose instead to default and buy assets across Europe.
The loans were taken to bolster Kingfisher Airlines, which was never profitable, and collapsed in 2012.
Besides buying assets in Europe, it is alleged that Mallya also transferred money to his children’s trust in Switzerland.
Vijay Mallya had trusts in the names of his children Siddharth, Leana and Tanya, but he controlled the trusts himself.
“The properties in the UK (Ladywalk in 2015-2016 for £12-£13 million) and France (‘Le Grand Jardin’ in 2008 for €35 million) were acquired by Mallya even as Kingfisher Airlines was facing severe a cash crunch (2008) and the lenders were yet to recover the loans defaulted upon by Mallya and the Airlines (2015-2016),” the new charge sheet says.
Ladywalk is Mallya’s estate in Tewin, Hertfordshire. He also lives in an elegant town house in London’s fashionable Regents Park.
The CBI had sent out inquiries to multiple countries seeking details of any transactions made by Mallya while his assets were subject to a worldwide freeze.
They found out that Mallya bought a property on an island near Cannes in France and tried to make a payment of €8 million from the account of Gizmo Holdings, which was one of his companies.
Mallya has been declared bankrupt in the UK where he fled in March 2016 on the eve of an arrest warrant being issued for him in India.
More than two years ago the UK courts ordered his extradition to India but this cannot take place until a “confidential legal matter” has been settled.
This is widely believed to be a plea for political asylum based on his claim that he will not get a fair trial in India, where he has already been convicted for contempt of the Supreme Court.