Europe & UK

February 14, 2020

Vijay Mallya Appeals Against Extradition From The UK

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


Fugitive economic defaulter and willful defaulter Vijay Mallya Vijay Mallya has appealed in Britain’s High Court recently against his extradition to India to face fraud and money laundering charges resulting from the collapse of his defunct company Kingfisher Airlines.

Mallya fled India and moved to London in March 2016. Mallya owes Indian banks more than Rs 9,000 crore.

United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecution Service lawyer appearing for India, Mark Summers, highlighted “overwhelming evidence of dishonesty” on Mallya’s part. “There is enough in the 32,000 pages of overall evidence to fulfill the (extradition) treaty obligations that there is a case to answer,” Summers told the court.

Mallya’s lawyer, Clare Montgomery, said that the 2018 extradition ruling by Judge Emma Arbuthnot had “multiple errors” because she did not take into account all the evidence about the financial status of Kingfisher Airlines.

Arbuthnot had rejected Mallya’s argument that the case was motivated by political considerations, that he would not receive a fair trial in India and that extradition would infringe his human rights.

She revisited a series of bank statements and balance sheets provided to Indian banks to seek loans as proof of full disclosure. Montgomery argued that there had been no misrepresentation or fraud on the part of her client and that Kingfisher Airlines was the victim of economic misfortune. “The airline industry is littered with examples of struggling airlines being supported for strategic reasons,” she added.

“There is not just a prima facie case but overwhelming evidence of dishonesty,” Summers countered her. “Given the volume and depth of evidence the District Judge (Arbuthnot) had before her, the judgment is comprehensive and detailed with the odd error but nothing that impacts the prima facie case.”

Summers also said Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines submitted “absolute and outrageous lies” about projections of profitability and loss while applying to IDBI and SBI banks for loans in 2009.

“Profitability of the company was knowingly fudged (in loan applications), wildly untrue and patently dishonest claims were made on projections of the company’s profits and loss. Promises of equity to be infused were liberally made that never came. A honest person would have presented accurate picture to banks,” Summers said.

Lord Justice Stephen Irwin and Justice Elisabeth Laing, the two-member bench presiding over the appeal, concluded hearing the arguments in the case and said that they will hand down their verdict at a later date after considering oral as well as written submissions in the “very dense” case.

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