British court grants bankruptcy order against Vijay Mallya
A British court on Monday granted a bankruptcy order against Vijay Mallya, paving the way for a consortium of Indian banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) to pursue a worldwide freezing order to seek repayment of debt owed by the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
“As at 15.42 (UK time), I shall adjudicate Mallya bankrupt,” Chief Insolvencies and Companies Court (ICC) judge Michael Briggs said in his ruling during a virtual hearing of the Chancery Division of the High Court.
“I have to decide if there is a real prospect of payment of petition debt in full within a reasonable period of time… there is insufficient evidence that (Mallya’s asset realisations in India) will pay the debt in full within a reasonable period of time,” Judge Briggs noted, in reference to defence arguments pointing to a restoration process in India following a Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court order for the attachment of Mallya’s assets.
“In my judgment, the sums provided to date are conditional… there is no evidence Mallya will return to India to deal with the criminal trial and seek to unlock the allocation of realisations which have been made,” the judge concluded.
The 65-year-old businessman, wanted in India on fraud and money laundering charges, remains on bail in the UK while a “confidential” legal matter, believed to be related to an asylum application, is resolved in connection with the unrelated extradition proceedings.
During the course of Monday’s hearing, Judge Briggs asked Mallya’s barrister, Philip Marshall, if there was any
“indication” if his client intended to return to India to deal with the criminal proceedings and was told that there was no such indication.