India’s most famous defaulter has made a desperate appeal to his creditors

Take my money.
Take my money.
Image: REUTERS/Simon Dawson
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Fugitive Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, facing an extradition trial in the UK, today (Dec. 05) made a fervent appeal to his creditors to accept his offer of repaying the full principal amount he owes them.

Taking to Twitter to blame extraneous factors for the sinking of his carrier, Kingfisher Airlines, Mallya, who headed the United Breweries alcoholic beverage empire till recently, said he is willing to pay “100% of the principal amount” owed to banks.

Airlines struggling financially partly becoz of high ATF prices. Kingfisher was a fab airline that faced the highest ever crude prices of $140/barrel. Losses mounted and that’s where Banks money went.I have offered to repay 100 % of the Principal amount to them. Please take it.

— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) December 5, 2018

For three decades running India’s largest alcoholic beverage group, we contributed thousands of crores to the State exchequers. Kingfisher Airlines also contributed handsomely to the States. Sad loss of the finest Airline but still I offer to pay Banks so no loss. Please take it.

— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) December 5, 2018

I see the quick media narrative about my extradition decision. That is separate and will take its own legal course. The most important point is public money and I am offering to pay 100% back. I humbly request the Banks and Government to take it. If payback refused, WHY ?

— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) December 5, 2018

The former liquor baron fled India in 2016 and is now fighting extradition requests from Indian authorities in British courts over alleged money laundering and fraud. The verdict in the case is expected soon.

However, lawyers in the extradition trial have pointed out before that the principal amount Mallya has offered to repay is just around half of the airline’s total dues. Kingfisher owes over Rs9,000 crore to several banks, including the country’s largest lender, State Bank of India. A clutch of banks had labelled him a “wilful defaulter” and taken the legal recourse over non-payment of loans taken to fund Kingfisher Airlines. 

In the past, too, Mallya had offered to repay the principal amount.

Apart from dues to banks, Mallya’s company also owes in salaries to employees. However, earlier this year, in a letter written to prime minister Narendra Modi, Mallya offered to clear dues of several Kingfisher employees and also pay back lenders.

India has recently seen defaulting businessmen flee the country after non-payment of large loans. Earlier this year, jeweller Nirav Modi was accused of a $1.8 billion banking fraud that involved several large public banks.

Mallya’s offer comes days after India took a firm stand at the recently concluded G-20 summit to tackle fugitive economic offenders.