Evict Vijay Mallya from his luxury London home: UK court
A UK court on Tuesday ordered fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya and his family to be evicted from their luxury London house. The court also denied a temporary stay on enforcement and permission to appeal against the order. The possession of the property will reportedly be granted to Swiss bank UBS. Mallya's mother Lalitha and son Sidhartha are currently residing in the apartment.
Why does this story matter?
Mallya faces charges of money laundering and fraud in India, including loans to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, which allegedly totaled around 9,000 crores. In March 2016, he left India. He was proclaimed a fugitive economic offender (FEO) by a Mumbai court in 2019. Mallya is fighting an extradition battle with the British government to halt his deportation to India for failing to repay debts.
What did the judge say?
The judge refused to give the Mallya family more time to repay a £20.4 million loan to UBS. He dismissed the defendant's application which stated the claimant (UBS) misled Mallya. "I will refuse permission to appeal and therefore it follows that I will not be granting a stay," said the judge, adding that UBS can go ahead and collect its overdue debts.
Mallya's company had mortgaged property as security
In 2012, Rose Capital Ventures, one of Mallya's companies, mortgaged the London property to UBS as security for a five-year loan. The loan expired in 2017 and the amount owed was not paid. A court judgment in May 2019 permitted the family to keep ownership with a deadline of April 30, 2020. UBS was unable to seek enforcement until April 2021 due to COVID-19.
Mallya's company later offered to acquire property
In October 2021, the bank sought a court order for enforcement. Mallya filed an application for a stay, claiming that the bank had put "unreasonable obstacles" in his way of repaying the debts. His legal team drafted a non-binding document saying that a corporation was willing to acquire the property and help pay off the loan. The court, however, rejected all applications of Mallya.
Mallya to appeal decision in High Court
Mallya's lawyer, Daniel Margolin QC, said the 65-year-old businessman intends to appeal the decision to a High Court Chancery Division Judge. Margolin said the ruling has "serious consequences" for his clients, including Mallya's elderly mother, who now resides at the property.
Banks made huge recoveries through Mallya's asset sales
Last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that banks had retrieved over Rs. 13,000 crore through fugitives' asset sales, including Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, and Mehul Choksi. The most recent recovery was Rs. 792 crore as of July 2021. "People who are defaulters, who have fled the country, we have got their money back and put it to the public sector banks," said Sitharaman.