UK govt approves Vijay Mallya extradition to India

The controversial former chairman of United Spirits, Vijay Mallya, is fighting extradition from the UK after home secretary Sajid Javid signed the order for his return to India to face allegations of £1 billion (US$1.3bn) fraud.

Mallya, who is also the former chairman of Kingfisher Airlines and ex-owner of the Force India Formula One team, left India in 2016 after allegedly defaulting on debts of more than £1 billion, most of which was associated with his defunct airline.

The tycoon has maintained he made an “unconditional” offer to pay what he owned in full last year.

Mallya was arrested then bailed by the Metropolitan Police on behalf of Indian authorities in London in 2017. In December 2018, a judged ruled that the businessman should be sent back to India for trial over allegations he misled Indian banks on how loans paid to him would be used.

Last week, on 3 February, home secretary Javid signed the order for Mallya’s extradition to India “having carefully considered all relevant matters”.

A statement from the Home Office continued: “Vijay Mallya is accused in India of conspiracy to defraud, making false representations and money laundering offences.”

Mallya said on Twitter that he planned to appeal the extradition order. He has 14 days to do so.

Diageo, which is the majority owner of Indian drinks firm United Spirits, is separately suing Mallya for at least US$180 million through the High Court in London.

The maker of Johnnie Walker is seeking repayment of the US$40m lump sum paid as severance to Mallya when he stepped down as chairman of United Spirits in 2016. Diageo is seeking a further US$141m, which the group claims it is owed by Watson Limited, a company affiliated with Mallya.

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Author: Amy Hopkins {authorlink}