In latest legal blow to liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the UK High Court on Feb. 12 ordered him to pay an estimated $90 million to Singapore-based aircraft leasing company BOC Aviation in claims. The case, dating back to 2014, is related to the leasing of aircraft by Mallya’s now defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
In a judgement dated Feb. 5 at the Business and Property Courts of the High Court in London, Justice Picken ruled that “the defendants have no real prospect of successfully defending the claim,” PTI reported. The defendants in question were Kingfisher Airlines Ltd and United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd. in the claim slapped by BOC Aviation in Singapore and BOC Aviation (Ireland) Ltd.
The leasing agreement between Kingfisher Airlines and BOC Aviation involved four planes, of which three were delivered. The fourth one was apparently withheld because of unpaid amounts due under agreement. According to BOC Aviation, the security deposit was also inadequate to cover payments that Kingfisher was “contractually bound” to make.
Justice Picken awarded BOC Aviation the amount overdue with interest payments and legal costs, making the sum owed by Mallya a total of $90 million. “The Second Defendant [United Breweries] shall be jointly and severally liable with the First Defendant [Kingfisher Airlines] to pay the Claimants [BOC Aviation] half of the said costs liability,” the court order said.
While there was no immediate response from Kingfisher, a spokesperson for BOC Aviation in Singapore said that they are “pleased” with the judgement. They did not comment further on the case.
The extradition case of the 62-year-old business tycoon to India to face fraud and money laundering charges over alleged loan defaults by Kingfisher Airlines of around Rs 9,000 crore will be heard in Westminister Magistrates’ Court in London on March 16, with a judgement on the case expected to come in May. Mallya is currently on a £650,000 bail bond. The bail bond was extended to April 2 during the last hearing in the extradition case in January. The businessman, who was arrested by Scotland Yard in April 2017, has been in the United Kingdom since March 2016, and had said that he would not return to India.
Mallya also has another litigation slapped on him by 13 Indian banks for freezing of his $1.5 billion worth assets worldwide, as per documents submitted to the UK High Court last year. The case is expected to be heard at Queen’s Bench Division of the commercial court in England’s High Court of Justice after April 11.