India: Beer baron Mallya ordered to appear in person at court in October

United Breweries Holdings Ltd (UBHL), the holding company of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya which owned Kingfisher Airlines before its bankruptcy, on Thursday offered to settle dues worth about Rs 14,518.02 crore (USD 1.98 billion) to a consortium of 14 Indian banks.

In January, the Karnataka High Court already rejected an offer by Mallya and six other companies owned by the family to sell assets amounting upto over Rs 3,000 crore [USD 410 million]. Instead the court ordered in February to wind up UBHL. The proceeds of the liquidation are thought to pay debtors of Kingfisher Airlines.

UBHL replied now in a statement the aim of the bankruptcy laws is to keep companies viable and creditors are paid back what they are owed. Therefore, its offer should be accepted by the High Court and the creditors.

“This bona fide offer of Rs 14,518.02 crore (as on January 17, 2020) is required to be viewed in the context of the banks having already recovered Rs 2,877.55 crore [USD 393 million] till date leaving a balance due, at the highest of Rs 5,958.97 crore [USD 813 million], given that all the assets of UBHL stood attached by ED in June and September 2016,” UBHL said in its statement.

In 2017, Mallya was ordered to repay Rs 9,000 crore (USD 1,22 billion) he owed to Indian banks after the collapse of his Kingfisher Airlines in 2013. The court found him also guilty for fraud and money laundering after transferring USD 40 million to his children in violation of a court's order.

The Supreme Court on Monday now directed Mallya to be present at court in India on 5 October at 2 pm. However, Mallya currently lives in the UK where he fled from India in March 2016. The British High Commission left it open, if an extradition of Mallya from the U.K. will be possible right on time.

"Under United Kingdom law, extradition cannot take place until [an unresolved legal issue] is resolved. The issue is confidential and we cannot go into any detail. We cannot estimate how long this issue will take to resolve. We are seeking to deal with this as quickly as possible," a spokesperson of the British High Commission said.

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