UK: India’s ‘King of the Good Times’ Re-Arrested for Money Laundering
Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya was arrested in the UK on Tuesday for the second time this year on behalf of Indian authorities who allege that he diverted a state loan meant for his ailing airline carrier to support his Formula 1 team, the Guardian reported.
India is seeking Mallya's extradition over US$ 1.4 billion that authorities say he owes as a result of loans tied to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
The self-proclaimed “King of the Good Times” is accused of channeling the loan Indian banks had given him for his airline carrier Kingfisher Airlines that collapsed in 2012 to his Force India Formula One motor racing team.
He left the country before authorities revoked his passport.
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation filed criminal charges in January against Mallya and nine of his bankers and former senior executives for the alleged diversion of the loan, according to the Financial Times.
He was arrested in April in the UK and charged with fraud and illegal fund diversions, at the behest of the Indian government, but released on bail.
The new charges show that some of the funds ended up with the Force India racing team, according to the Crown Prosecution Office in London.
Mallya denied any wrongdoing and was again released on bail.
“I have not eluded any court. If it is my lawful duty to be here, I’m happy to be here,” he said outside the Westminster magistrates’ court.
More than 4,000 Kingfisher Airlines employees went without pay for seven months before they revolted and his carrier collapsed in October 2012.
Mallya was once known as the “Branson of Bangalore” for his business and sport empire and for hosting celebrity parties on his 311-foot superyacht Indian Empress during the Monte Carlo Grand Prix.
The Indian tycoon, who is living in an £11.5 million (US$ 15 million) Hertfordshire mansion once owned by the father of F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, is due back in court on November 20 and an extradition hearing is due to begin on December 4.