July 23, 2019

United Kingdom Court Order Grants Lenders’ Consortium The Right To Seek Details Of Vijay Mallya's Asset Ownership

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


A United Kingdom court has ruled in favor of Indian banks and given an State Bank of India (SBI) led lenders’ consortium the right to seek details of defaulter Vijay Mallya’s asset ownership.

Justice Robin Knowles, presiding over the hearing in the Commercial Court division of the High Court, ruled that he was satisfied that a consortium of Indian banks led by SBI have a right to the documents they are seeking to establish the true ownership of assets they believe are linked to Mallya.

The consortium of PSU banks led by SBI had pursued Mallya in their attempt to recover some of the funds owed to them under a 1.145 billion pounds worldwide freezing order.

During the recent hearing, they sought the disclosure of crucial documentation that would establish the true ownership structure of the VMDS Trust, named after Mallya's father Vittal Mallya (VM), in which Vijay Mallya claims he has no "beneficial interest".

Appearing on behalf of Indian banks, barrister Nigel Tozzi told Justice Robin Knowles that Mallya has not told courts in India and the UK the full story.

He informed the court that TLT LLP, the law firm acting for the Indian banks, had asked questions about who controls the VMDS Trust after it emerged that most of the assets in contention are held by that trust, which is associated with Mallya's family members.

TLT LLP has sought full disclosure of the complex ownership structure of many of the assets they believe ultimately belong to Mallya.

However, Mallya’s counsels questioned the necessity and legality of the demand for various documents and branded it as a “fishing expedition” by Indian banks to cast the net as wide as possible to get their hands on the information.

Yet, the judge ruled that the Indian banks' case outweighed their assertions of confidentiality.

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