By GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — A British court has ordered that charismatic Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya should face extradition to India on financial fraud allegations.
Judge Emma Arbuthnot said Monday she would send the case to Britain’s Home Secretary for review and action. She said there were substantial misrepresentations in Mallya’s characterizations of his financial dealings that gave weight to the Indian government’s extradition request.
The judge said banks may have been fooled into making bad loans by “this glamorous, flashy, famous, bejeweled, bodyguarded, ostensibly billionaire playboy who charmed and cajoled these bankers into losing their common sense.”
She said his companies were in “desperate” financial situations that were concealed from the banks.
The 62-year-old tycoon can still appeal the ruling, which was made in Westminster Magistrates’ Court. He remains free on bail, but the judge told Mallya she would “take your money away” if he failed to show up for future hearings.
Mallya is accused by India of money laundering and conspiracy involving hundreds of millions of dollars. He has denied wrongdoing in repeated court appearances.
Mallya was once a leading figure among India’s business elite with top roles at Kingfisher Airlines and India’s Formula 1 racing team.
The judge said Mallya suffers from many medical problems including coronary artery disease, but she denied his claim that he could not receive adequate medical care in prison in India.
Arbuthnot did suggest he be allowed to be treated by his own doctors and that the government of India provide him with a wide array of needed medications. She said the prison doctors and nurses would have their hands full dealing with Mallya’s various maladies.
She also said being in prison might require him to cut back on his alcohol consumption. Mallya did not respond to this assertion.
The judge said his prison cell in India would have adequate light, a bathroom with a shower, fans for ventilation, and a sleeping pad. She said he would have access to ample water supplies as his doctors had requested.
She also said he could make a “medical request” for installation of a bed in his prison cell if supported by documentations.
Mallya declined to say whether an appeal is planned and his lawyers urged him to make no statement until they had spoken with him. He showed no emotion and drank from a plastic water bottle when the ruling was announced.