Fresh trouble for Mallya as he faces bankruptcy proceedings in UK court
Controversial businessman Vijay Mallya is facing bankruptcy proceedings in a London court brought by the State Bank of India and 12 other lenders seeking to recover £1.145 billion extended as loans to Kingfisher Airlines that Mallya guaranteed.
The lenders had won in the commercial court of the high court on May 8 when it dismissed Mallya’s applications to set aside a ruling of India’s Debt Recovery Tribunal and an associated worldwide freezing order.
In June, the business and property court of the high court allowed searches and seizure of goods at his two properties at the same address in Tewin, Herfortdshire, but legal experts said the ruling did not have the effect of triggering any enforcement.
The latest legal action by SBI and other lenders relates to declaring Mallya bankrupt as part of their efforts to seize his assets in the UK to recover the loans. He is planning to contest the fresh petition which, according him, is “not sustainable”.
Asked by The Sunday Times how he felt, Mallya replied: “Nothing different to what has been happening over the past four years since the (Indian) government began hounding me.”
Mallya last week lost his bid to prevent extradition to India in the Westminster magistrates court. He has 14 days to appeal against the ruling, which has been sent to the home secretary, as per the provisions of the UK extradition act, 2003.
The Sunday paper also reported that in a separate case, the Qatar National Bank (QNB) launched a legal claim against Mallya’s son, Siddartha Mallya, who owns Force India, a 165ft yacht pledged as security for a €27 million loan.
Mallya reportedly took out the loan in 2008 to buy a lavish property on the island of Sainte Marguerite, near Cannes. According to QNB, Siddhartha Mallya’s company, Gizmo, has fallen behind with the payments since January.
The bank claims it is owed more than €5 million and says it is seeking the sale of the yacht. In his defence, Siddartha Mallya said he had not received independent advice over the mortgage on the yacht, while Mallya told the paper that Gizmo’s lawyers were “dealing with proceedings in France”.