Liquor baron-turned- fugitive Vijay Mallya on Wednesday faced a big blow as the United Kingdom High Court upheld a worldwide freeze order and ruled in favour of 13 state-owned banks to recover funds amounting to about $1.55 billion.
Liquor baron-turned- fugitive Vijay Mallya on Wednesday faced a big blow as the United Kingdom High Court upheld a worldwide freeze order and ruled in favour of 13 state-owned banks to recover funds amounting to about $1.55 billion. Judge Andrew Henshaw concluded that Vijay Mallya regarded as a “fugitive from justice”. During the hearing, several assets of once the King of Good Times came in question including the sword of Tipu Sultan, yachts to Ferrari 246 GTS.
Vijay Mallya owes about $1.3 billion to 13 Indian banks including State Bank of India and IDBI Bank. In 2015, SBI declared Vijay Mallya a wilful defaulter. A few months later in March 2016, he fled the country. The UK High Court remained unconvinced by Mallya’s claim that he has been a non-resident Indian (NRI) since 1988 and took note of the of the fact that the 62-year-old businessman is contesting his extradition to India relating to “alleged financial misconduct”.
The court noted that the sword of Tipu Sultan, bought by Vijay Mallya in an auction and later disposed of, was in breach of an order by Karnataka High Court. “The sword of Tipu Sultan is an item of historic importance which Dr Mallya bought at an auction in 2003… states that he gave away in 2016 as his family members considered that it was bringing him bad luck. Dr Mallya declined to state in correspondence to whom the sword was given. Dr Mallya was unable to put forward any basis for contending that the disposal was not in breach of the Karnataka High Court’s interim injunction,” the UK High Court noted.
A Ferrari 246 GTS with an estimated value of $650000 was also questioned by the Indian banks. The UK court concluded that it may be the case that the payment of the deposit on the Ferrari was also in breach of the Karnataka HC’s interim injunction. While other assets such as luxury cars and yachts also came up at during the hearing, the court remained less certain about them.
Vijay Mallya is fighting numerous lawsuits in the UK and India over fraud and money-laundering allegations. Due to the freeze of assets, Vijay Mallya is currently living on a $27130 allowance. Vijay Mallya was arrested in London April 18.