LONDON – An Indian businessman, accused of defaulting on loans worth billions, was arrested and later released on bail in London on Tuesday.
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Vijay Mallya, 61, is wanted for loan fraud and is also facing charges of money-laundering.
“Vijay Mallya was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud. He was arrested after attending a central London police station…” Scotland Yard said in a statement.
India has been pushing for the extradition of Mallya, who faces charges of financial irregularities at his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
The liquor baron is said to owe banks £600 million (9,000 crore Indian rupees) but denies wrongdoing.
He was due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court later on Tuesday to be booked, the Times of India reported.
The businessman made his fortune selling beer under the Kingfisher brand before branching out into aviation and Formula 1 racing. He also owns an Indian Premier League cricket franchise.
However, Mallya’s airline was grounded in 2012 and its flying permit lapsed the following year.
It had made annual losses for five years in a row and finally collapsed after lenders refused to give fresh loans.
In March last year, Mallya was blocked from receiving $75m severance pay from British drinks giant Diageo.
He was due to receive the money after being ousted from the firm, but a consortium of banks and creditors had demanded the money should be used to settle some of Mallya’s outstanding debt to them.
In April last year, India revoked Mallya’s passport. The following month, it began seeking his extradition from the UK.