London HC: Mallya assets can be seized in Britain

Posted May 10, 2018

The judge also concluded that the businessman had been in "clear breach" of a Karnataka court's order when he disposed of assets like a historic sword of Tipu Sultan acquired at an auction in 2003. Judge Andrew Henshaw refused on Tuesday to overturn a worldwide order freezing Vijay Mallya's assets and upheld an Indian court's ruling that a consortium of 13 Indian banks were entitled to recover funds from him. Significantly, the judge also refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing Mallya's assets and upheld a Karnataka debt tribunal's ruling that a consortium of 13 Indian banks were entitled to recover funds amounting to almost Rs 10,404 crore from the businessman.

"Following the decision today, the banks are now considering the enforcement options available to them to recover the sums due from Dr Mallya under the DRT judgment, which is now enforceable in England and Wales as if it were a judgment given by the English courts".

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Mallya was arrested in London April 18 on a warrant issued by Indian authorities accusing him of conspiring to defraud the IDBI Bank.

"It is common ground that Dr Mallya holds his assets through a network of complex ownership structures". Mallya, who is fighting a number of lawsuits related to fraud and money laundering allegations, is accused of willfully defaulting on about $1.4 billion (Rs 9,380 crore) in debt for his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. The freeze order really drove the king into worse times as he was allowed by the court only a weekly allowance of £5,000. He has been accepted as a wilful defaulter. But the High Court of England did not disappoint them. The case is scheduled for a final hearing at the Westminster Magistrates Court on July 11.

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British attorneys representing the flamboyant Mallya have been claiming in court that conditions in Tihar jail in Delhi where he is expected to be kept if extradited are appalling and since he is a British citizen, they fear that he needs to be shielded from extradition. A number of Indian business entities have investments in the United Kingdom, and therefore the example of an unethical Indian businessman slipping away to the UK to escape lenders and live life big with the investments in that country may not end with Vijay Mallya.

TLT acted for the Indian banks in successfully defeating two applications - first, an application to set aside the first recorded case of a judgment of the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in India being registered by the English High Court, and the second, to discharge an associated worldwide freezing order.

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