Thursday 24 May 2018

Tycoon Vijay Mallya declared an 'offender' by court amid extradition fight

File photo of Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London (AP)
File photo of Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London (AP)

A court has declared India's flamboyant tycoon Vijay Mallya a "proclaimed offender" for failing to appear in India to answer allegations of money laundering by flouting foreign currency laws.

The order on Thursday by a court in New Delhi paves the way for the government to take over Mallya's businesses and property holdings.

Mallya is currently in London where a court is hearing whether he should be extradited as sought by India.

Mallya was once hailed as India's version of British tycoon Sir Richard Branson for his investments in a brewing and liquor company, an airline, a Formula 1 team and an Indian Premier League cricket club.

Investigators have accused the 61-year-old of paying 200,000 US dollars to a British firm for displaying his company Kingfisher's logo during the Formula 1 World Championships in some European countries in the 1990s.

The Enforcement Directorate claimed the money was paid without prior approval of India's federal bank.

Mallya denies any wrongdoing.

The Indian government seeks the entrepreneur's extradition to face money-laundering and conspiracy allegations.

He is fighting to remain in Britain, which he calls his second home, and will be able to appeal if the judge rules against him.

Mallya was once one of the wealthiest people in India with control of Kingfish Airlines and other major businesses.

He was also a prominent member of parliament before he resigned when he was about to be expelled.

The government says he borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars he knew he would never be able to repay.

AP

Press Association

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