Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya stands to lose his London home as a British court on Tuesday ruled against him in a case related to a dispute with Swiss bank UBS, PTI reported.
Deputy Master Matthew Marsh of the Chancery Division of the High Court said that there were no grounds to grant more time to Mallya to repay his 20.4 million pounds (over Rs 206.79 crore) loan to UBS.
The case relates to a mortgage taken out by Rose Capital Ventures, one of Mallya’s companies. Mallya, his mother Lalitha Ramaiah Mallya and son Sidhartha Mallya have been listed as co-defendants with the right of occupancy of the property, according to PTI.
The luxury apartment, which overlooks London’s Regent Park, has been described in the court as an “extraordinarily valuable property worth many tens of millions of pounds”.
In a judgement in May 2019, a British court had allowed the Mallya family to retain possession of the house if UBS’ loan was repaid by April 30, 2020. Even as Mallya failed to meet the deadline, the Swiss bank was unable to take over the house till April 2021 because of limitations posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
In October, the bank sought a court order for enforcement in the matter. But Mallya applied to stay the takeover. He argued that the bank had placed “unreasonable obstacles” in his path to repay the sums through family trust funds. His lawyers also produced a non-binding letter that claimed that a company was willing to acquire the property.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the judge held that the “claimant’s [UBS] position was a reasonable one”, and granting further time to Mallya to repay the loan would not make any “material difference”, PTI reported.
The judge also declined permission to appeal against his order or to grant a temporary stay of enforcement, which means UBS can proceed with the possession process to realise its unpaid dues.
Mallya, who is currently on bail in the United Kingdom, also owes Rs 9,000 crore in debts of Kingfisher Airlines, to a consortium of Indian banks led by the State Bank of India.
In 2017, after the fugitive businessman made it clear that he would not return to India, the government had submitted an extradition request. The United Kingdom had denied the request saying it cannot be extradited until the “confidential legal issue” related to Mallya is resolved.