An investigation by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has established that the fugitive Indian business tycoon Vijay Mallya’s grand London mansion was bought using Indian taxpayers’ money routed through certain UK-based companies.
News reports show that Mallya had paid $ 6.1 million (Rs 39.7 crore) from his Kingfisher Airline’s HSBC account in London to Continental Administrative Services, a British company which, according to a confidential CBI report, “is having ownership interests in the property at Lady Walk, London, the present address of Mallya.”
The SFO has shared all its investigative details with the CBI. Lady Walk is a plush Hertfordshire property that was earlier owned by F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.
The Indian business tycoon is guilty of defrauding the Indian taxpayers of Rs 9,000 crore given by a consortium of as many as 17 banks. IDBI alone issued a loan of Rs 900 crore to Mallya, of which a considerable amount has been laundered abroad, including certain companies in the UK.
The SFO further informed the CBI that an approximate amount of Rs 242 crore was transferred from Kingfisher Airlines’ Axis Bank account to its London accounts:
The loans disbursed by various Indian banks were routed through the said Axis Bank accounts.
In fact, when the Enforcement Directorate was filing its charge sheet against Mallya in June this year for money laundering, the business tycoon was trying desperately to transfer a chunk of the money to a Swiss Bank account. He was trying to launder about $18 million (Rs 117 crore) to the CBH Bank of Switzerland.
The SFO has also informed India about the details of the companies Mallya used to launder money. Some of them are Harrison Finance Limited, Drayton Resources Limited and Black Forest Holdings Limited.
As per news reports, the CBI has already sent letters requesting the Swiss and British authorities to freeze these assets as the agency felt that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that the funds used for acquisition of the property at Lady Walk and the funds lying in the accounts of the aforementioned British companies originated from the proceeds of loan disbursed by Indian banks.”