Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya denies charges in UK court

LONDON (AP) – Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya has resumed his long-running fight against extradition to India on money laundering allegations.

Mallya’s lawyer, Clare Montgomery, said in Westminster Magistrate’s Court yesterday that the charges presented by the Indian government against Mallya are not justified.

The 62-year-old entrepreneur who wants to remain in Britain is accused by India of money laundering and conspiracy involving hundreds of millions of dollars. He has denied wrongdoing.

In what is expected to be a final submission to the court, Montgomery provided a detailed rebuttal of the government’s case that Mallya had submitted false information on loan applications involving huge sums.

She denied he had inflated the value of his holdings and overstated the profitability of his businesses in order to obtain loans needed to keep his enterprises afloat.

F1 Force India team boss Vijay Mallya smiles as he arrives to attend a hearing at Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London. – AP

“The evidence to support the allegations is nil,” she said, adding that Mallya had understated, not overstated, his net worth on the loan applications.

She called the Indian government case against Mallya “bizarre” and said the government’s own evidence undercuts the allegations against Mallya, who sat impassively in the dock during the proceedings.

Mallya was once one of the wealthiest people in India with control of Kingfisher Airlines and other major businesses. He was also a prominent Member of Parliament before he resigned when he was about to be expelled.

He called Britain his “second home” and hopes to remain in the country.

He has been free on bail and is expected to appeal if the ruling by Judge Emma Arbuthnot goes against him.