Five days before a UK court’s verdict on whether Vijay Mallya can be extradited, the fugitive businessman, who is being investigated for fraud and money-laundering, appealed to several Indian banks to accept his offer to pay back 100 percent of the principal loan amount he owes them.
In a web of tweets, the liquor baron said that the huge loans he took from banks went into keeping his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines afloat despite high jet fuel prices.
“Airlines struggling reason being partly that of high ATF prices. Kingfisher was a fab airline that faced the highest ever crude prices of $ 140/barrel. Losses mounted and that’s where Banks money went. I have offered to repay 100 % of the Principal amount to them. Please take it (sic),” he tweeted.
Vijay Mallya, 62, his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines and others availed huge loans from several banks. He left India in March 2016 after banks got together to launch legal proceedings to recover an outstanding of more than 9,000 crores. India officially asked for his extradition in February last year.
In the UK for the past two years, he has been fighting India’s attempts to bring him back to face trial.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year, the tycoon stated he was “making every effort” to settle his dues to banks but he had been made the “Poster Boy” of bank default and a lightning rod for public anger.
In his latest tweets, Vijay Mallya said his United Breweries “contributed thousands of crores to the state exchequers” for three decades. “Kingfisher Airlines also contributed handsomely to the states. Sad loss of the finest Airline but still I offer to pay Banks so no loss. Please take it,” he tweeted.
He remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by the Scotland Yard last year on fraud and money laundering charges. A ruling at the end of his extradition trial is expected at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on December 10.
Vijay Mallya’s tweets came hours after Christian Michel, the stated middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper deal, was extradited by Dubai and brought to India on Tuesday night. It is the first successful extradition since India initiated similar proceedings against economic offenders like Mallya, Nirav Modi, and Mehul Choksi.
Last month, a UK High Court order permitted 13 Indians banks to use certain information disclosed in court as part of a worldwide freezing order (WFO) against the businessman in another case involving the sale of a luxury superyacht believed to be previously owned by Mallya before he abandoned it last year.