London, May 25: ‘Mr Corrupt’ Vijay Mallya is again in the labyrinth as the UK High Court directed the embattled liquor tycoon to pay British beverage giant Diageo over USD 135 million in relation to a collateral arrangement. Justice Knowles while dismissing Mallya's defence said that an oral promise over-rides any claim of such payment.
Diageo is seeking a total of USD 175 million from the 63-year-old businessman. Over and above the USD 135 million, Mallya is liable to pay interest incurred at a commercial rate as well as 200,000 pounds towards legal costs. The remainder of the USD 175 million, including USD 40 million paid directly to Mallya, sought by Diageo will proceed to a trial expected at a much later date.
Meanwhile, Mallya, who was not present in court and is separately wanted in India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to about Rs 9,000 crore, remains on bail. He awaits his July 2 oral hearing before another UK High Court judge for his appeal against his extradition ordered by UK home secretary Sajid Javid in February.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot had concluded that Vijay Mallya has a case to answer in the Indian courts over substantial "misrepresentations" of his financial dealings while he was heading the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Vijay Mallya's fortunes have been sinking lately, with defence lawyers recently telling Indian banks that he is willing to cut his spending to a comparatively lower amount of 29,500 pounds a month. The businessman's debtors who accuse him of willfully defaulting on loans taken by Kingfisher Airlines are now seeking to seize about 258,000 pounds stashed in his account. They allege that Vijay Mallya continues to lead a "lavish lifestyle" despite his legal challenges.