Indian tycoon Mallya to find out extradition fate

Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya leaves after appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in central London on July 31, 2018, to attend the closing arguments in his extradition hearing. (AFP)
Updated 10 December 2018
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Indian tycoon Mallya to find out extradition fate

  • “The focus of our case is on his conduct, how he misused the banks,” lawyer Mark Summers, representing the Indian authorities, said during an earlier hearing

LONDON: Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya will appear in a London court on Monday to find out whether he will be extradited to his homeland, where he is accused of fraud.
Mallya, chairman of the UB Group drinks conglomerate and chief executive of the Force India Formula One team, will discover his fate at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
He left India in March 2016 owing more than $1 billion after defaulting on loan payments to state-owned banks and allegedly misusing the funds.
The loans from the state-owned IDBI bank were intended to bail out his failed carrier Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya said in July that he had made an “unconditional offer” to an Indian court in a bid to settle the charges, but denies that was an admission of guilt.
“I cannot understand how my extradition decision... and my settlement offer are linked in any way,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
“Wherever I am physically, my appeal is ‘please take the money’. I want to stop the narrative that I stole money,” he added.
The case is being heard by England’s Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, who handles the most complex extradition cases.
“The focus of our case is on his conduct, how he misused the banks,” lawyer Mark Summers, representing the Indian authorities, said during an earlier hearing.
He told the court that Kingfisher Airlines had been incurring losses and was forced to defer payments to its creditors. It sought loans in October 2009 and hoped to emerge from the global financial crisis as a profitable venture.
“This was an airline in trouble at this stage, which is why it was seeking financial assistance from a large number of banks,” for large amounts of money, Summers said.
Known for his lavish lifestyle, Mallya made Kingfisher beer a global brand.
He stepped down as the director of the Indian Premier League cricket team Royal Challengers Bangalore last year.
His financial dealings are being investigated by the federal Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate, a financial crimes agency.
Mallya was once known as the “King of Good Times” but dropped off India’s most wealthy list in 2014, engulfed by Kingfisher Airlines’ massive debts.
He has been living in a sprawling $15 million (13 million euro) mansion in southeast England but has denied absconding.


Spain charges ‘Wolf Pack’ with another sexual assault

Updated 38 sec ago
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Spain charges ‘Wolf Pack’ with another sexual assault

  • Despite the original ruling against them, the men were released on bail in June last year on a legal technicality that says no one can be held for more than two years without a definitive sentence
MADRID: Spanish prosecutors have tabled another sex crime charge against four men calling themselves “The Wolf Pack” who assaulted a young woman at the Pamplona bull-running festival in 2016.
In a controversial ruling, a Spanish court last year gave nine-year prison sentences to the men for sexually assaulting the 18-year-old in a doorway, but cleared them of rape because of a lack of physical violence.
The case gained notoriety amid the global #MeToo movement and brought calls for changes to Spain’s rape law.
In the new case, the Andalusia regional prosecutor’s office said it was seeking a seven-year prison sentence for sexual assault and other crimes suspected to have been committed in Pozoblanco, in southern Spain, two months earlier.
Evidence for that was found against four of the five men in total being investigated over the case at the San Fermin festival in the northern city of Pamplona.
Investigators found a video on the cellphone of one of the accused, in which a woman appeared unconscious while men were abusing her inside a car after a night of partying.
The woman was notified about the video and the new case opened, the prosecutor’s office said.
Despite the original ruling against them, the men were released on bail in June last year on a legal technicality that says no one can be held for more than two years without a definitive sentence.
A rape charge in Spain requires a plaintiff to present evidence of specific violence such as being threatened with a knife or dealt physical blows. The government has said it plans to change the penal code to make rape convictions easier.
The annual bull-running festival in the Navarran capital Pamplona is famed for its drunken revelry. But concern has grown over increased reports of sex attacks and harassment at the event as well mistreatment of women in general in Spain.