Fugitive Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, who is fighting extradition from the U.K., has refuted allegations he fled the South Asian nation after defaulting on loans and offered to pay lenders back the principal amounts he owes.
“Please take it,” Mallya said in two separate tweets. “Politicians and Media are constantly talking loudly about my being a defaulter who has run away with PSU Bank money. All this is false,” he wrote, referring to public-sector or state-controlled lenders in India, which are weighed down with billions of dollars of soured debt.
The 62-year-old Mallya has become something of a fixture in London courts as he fights numerous cases including one to block his extradition to India on fraud charges and another to prevent UBS Group AG from foreclosing on a mortgage on his London house, which overlooks the capital’s Regent’s Park. A decision on the extradition case is expected on Dec. 10, Press Trust of India reported.
The source of Mallya’s legal problems is about $1.3 billion in loans that he took out in India for the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd., which he founded in 2005 and shut down seven years later. Disputes over the loans led to civil lawsuits in India and the U.K. as well as criminal fraud charges.
Mallya in August cited poor jail conditions in India to stave off extradition. In his recent string of tweets he said, the effort to bring him back to India “will take its own legal course" and asked why lenders are refusing his payback offer. On the soured loan, he said, losses at his airline had mounted as crude prices climbed to $140 a barrel.
“Losses mounted and that’s where Banks money went,” he tweeted. “I have offered to repay 100 percent of the Principal amount to them. Please take it.”