India

India tycoon Vijay Mallya guilty of contempt

Vijay Mallya Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Vijay Mallya has denied any wrongdoing

India's top court has found indebted tycoon Vijay Mallya guilty of contempt of court in a case filed by banks to recover borrowed funds.

Mr Mallya is said to owe banks $777m (£600m), but he denies wrongdoing.

The court ordered Mr Mallya to appear before it on 10 July, but he is currently in London.

India is seeking his extradition to face a raft of charges relating to financial irregularities at his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

The contempt petition was filed in the Supreme Court by a group of banks, led by the State Bank of India.

They accused the 61-year-old former Indian MP of transferring $40m which he received in severance pay from UK drinks giant Diageo to his children last year in "flagrant violation" of various court orders.

A court blocked the $75m payment in March 2016 after creditors demanded it be used to settle Mr Mallya's outstanding debts, but $40m had already been transferred.

Mr Mallya made his fortune selling beer under the Kingfisher brand before branching out into aviation and Formula 1 racing.

He is the co-owner of the F1 team Force India and also owns the Indian Premier League cricket franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore.

But Mr Mallya's airline was grounded in 2012 and its flying permit lapsed the following year. Kingfisher made annual losses for five years in a row and finally collapsed after lenders refused to give it fresh loans.

His total debts, including unpaid wages and operating costs, are estimated to exceed $1bn.

Mr Mallya entered the UK in March 2016. A month later India revoked his passport and asked the UK to return him.

Last month he was arrested by British police and subsequently released on bail.

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