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ED seizes Vijay Mallya’s French asset worth Rs 14-cr

Businessman Vijay Mallya‘s property worth Rs 14 crore located in France has been seized under the anti-money laundering law, the Enforcement Directorate said on Friday.

It said the action was undertaken by French authorities “on the request of the Enforcement Directorate” and the property bears the address: 32 Avenue FOCH in France.

The value of the seized asset is Euro 1.6 million that is worth about Rs 14 crore, the central probe agency said in a statement.

Investigations conducted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act revealed that “a large amount was remitted abroad from the bank account of Kingfisher Airlines Ltd (KAL)” for creation of the asset, it said.

Mallya, 64, an accused in a bank loan default case of over Rs 9,000 crore involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is in the UK since March, 2016. He is on bail on an extradition warrant executed three years ago by Scotland Yard on April 18, 2017.

The Centre had on October 5 told the apex court that Mallya, a liquor and airlines businessman, cannot be extradited to India until a separate secret legal process in the UK, which is judicial and confidential in nature, is resolved.

Acting High Commissioner of the UK Jan Thompson had told reporters here last month that Mallya cannot be extradited to India till the resolution of a confidential legal matter and that it is trying to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

The ED booked Mallya and others under money laundering charges in 2016 after studying a CBI FIR into the alleged bank fraud done by his companies and others.

The agency has attached assets worth Rs 11,231.70 crore (market value at the time of attachment) in this case till now and it has filed multiple FIRs against the accused that includes KAL, United Breweries Holdings Limited (UBHL), some bank officials and others.

A special PMLA court in Mumbai had declared him a fugitive economic offender on January 5 last year.

“Extradition request of Mallya was sent to the UK and the Westminster’s Magistrates court has ruled for his extradition on charges of money laundering on December 10, 2018,” the ED said.

“In its order, the court (in UK) has observed that a clear evidence of dispersal and misapplication of the loan funds has been found and prima facie accused Vijay Mallya was involved in a conspiracy to launder money,” the probe agency said.

Appeals made by Mallya before a UK High Court and later Supreme Court have been rejected, it said.

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