104714213 mediaitem104714210 - Vijay Mallya should be extradited to India, London court rules
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Vijay Mallya should be extradited to India, London court rules

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Indian business tycoon Vijay Mallya should be extradited from the UK to India where he faces fraud charges, a London court has ruled.

Mr Mallya attended Westminster Magistrates Court for the hearing.

Mr Mallya, whose business empire once included Kingfisher beer, left India in March 2016 after defaulting on debts of more than $1bn (£785m).

He denies “fleeing” from India, and says he made an “unconditional” offer to pay back the sum in full in July.

The businessman’s fall from grace is being avidly tracked in India, where he was once listed as one of India’s wealthiest people.

Mr Mallya built his fortune from Kingfisher beer, before branching out into Indian cricket and Formula 1 racing. He set up the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines in 2005.

He faces a raft of charges relating to financial irregularities at Kingfisher Airlines. His monetary affairs are being investigated by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate, which handles financial crimes.

In 2012, he sold a majority stake in his United Spirits group to UK drinks giant Diageo. The deal was supposed to help Mr Mallya reduce United Spirits’ debts and free up funds for Kingfisher Airlines.

But the airline, which was grounded in 2012, lost its flying permit the following year. It made annual losses for five years in a row and finally collapsed after lenders refused to give it fresh loans.

Mr Mallya’s total debts, including unpaid wages and operating costs, are estimated to exceed $1bn.

He is a high-profile figure who has in the past been called “India’s Richard Branson” and the “King of Good Times” for his lavish lifestyle.

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