UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has approved the extradition of Indian business tycoon Vijay Mallya, who faces fraud charges back home.The move comes two months after a London court ruled that he should be sent back for trial.
Mr Mallya, whose business empire once included Kingfisher beer, left India in March 2016 after defaulting on debts of more than $1bn (£785m).He now has 14 days to appeal against the decision.He denies “fleeing” from India and says he made an “unconditional” offer to pay back the sum in full in July last year.
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, Mr Mallya 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.