Vijay Mallya firms had financial dealings with company named in Panama Papers, says report

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New Delhi | Updated: October 16, 2017 8:40:39 AM

Two overseas firms controlled by beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya were involved in financial transactions with a Liberia-registered entity named in the Panama Papers.

Vijay Mallya, Vijay Mallya loan, Vijay Mallya probe, ub group, Panama Papers, Kingfisher Airlines, Serious Fraud Investigation Office, SFIO, IQ Bridge LimitedTwo overseas firms controlled by beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya were involved in financial transactions with a Liberia-registered entity named in the Panama Papers. (IE image)

Two overseas firms controlled by beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya were involved in financial transactions with a Liberia-registered entity named in the Panama Papers, according to Indian Express report. It has been learnt that those foreign firms had a stake in Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, the report says. This has been revealed by a probe by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO). Notably, Mallya has been on self-imposed exile in the UK since he left India on March 2, 2016.

IQ Bridge Limited, Mauritius, and its Indian subsidiary, IQ Bridge Limited, Bangalore, controlled by Mallya and the UB Group, held 15 lakh and 52 lakh equity shares respectively in Kingfisher Airlines before its merger with Deccan Aviation. In 2007-08, Mallya transferred 89 of the 99 shares he held in IQ Bridge, Mauritius, to Liberia-registered Lombard Wall Corporate Services Inc, the SFIO report report says. The SFIO report said that UB Overseas Limited (UBOL), an overseas subsidiary of United Breweries Holdings Ltd incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), bought 1.67 crore shares of Kingfisher Airlines on September 3, 2007, for Rs 50.02 crore. This was nine days before the airline began its open offer to acquire 20 per cent shares of Deccan Aviation, the report says, according to IE.

On October 3, Mallya was “re-arrested” in a money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of India before being released on a 650,000 pounds bail by a court here. The 61-year-old flamboyant businessman, already out on bail on an extradition warrant executed by the Metropolitan Police earlier this year, was released on the same bail conditions as before to appear for his extradition hearing on December 4. Speaking to PTI outside the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Mallya said that he has “done nothing wrong” and described the allegations against him as “fabricated”.

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The UK s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which is arguing the case against Mallya on behalf of the Indian authorities, told the court the new charges were “supplemental” to the earlier fraud charges against him. The new case gives evidence of the destination of the allegedly fraudulently obtained funds, some of which they claim may have landed in the Formula One team – Force India. “It is essentially about the ultimate destination of the funds… some of which we believe ended up in Force India Formula One,” said CPS barrister Mark Summers. The previous fraud charges relate to Mallya’s now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owing more than Rs 9,000 crore to various Indian banks.

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