London: Vijay Mallya, the ex-billionaire known as the ‘king of good times’ in India, may have to prepare for a bout of relative austerity as he fights multiple lawsuits against creditors.
Mallya’s lawyers told State Bank of India, which is among lenders owed 1.142 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) by his defunct Kingfisher Airlines, that their client is willing to cut his spending to 29,500 pounds a month, SBI’s lawyers told a London court Wednesday. He is currently spending about 18,300 pounds a week.
The banks are seeking to seize about 258,000 pounds held in Mallya’s ICICI Bank UK Plc account. They have accused Mallya of willfully defaulting on debts of Kingfisher Airlines, which was founded in 2005 and folded in 2012. The U.K. resident is fighting his extradition to India to face criminal fraud charges.
Mallya, who added a portfolio of real estate, yachts, Scotch whisky and Formula 1 racing to his United Breweries Ltd. business over the last two decades, continues to live a ‘lavish lifestyle,’ according to a written application from SBI’s lawyers. Mallya ‘is suffering no real hardship as would be understood by the man on the street,’ the lawyers said. He has other sources of income including a 7,500-pound monthly payment from Kingfisher Beer Europe Ltd. and his family’s wealth, much of which is tied up in trusts, SBI’s lawyers said.
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‘Dr. Mallya continues to do all he can to support a court process in India which should see creditors paid off in full,’ Jonathan Isaacs, his lawyer, said in an emailed statement. ‘No one creditor should be allowed to break rank and grab assets at the expense of all other creditors. Dr. Mallya meanwhile lives well within the court-ordered limits and looks forward to its conclusion in the coming months.’