Indian entrepreneur Vijay Mallya, who left the country as banks sought to recover more than $1 billion owed by his collapsed Kingfisher Airlines, has rejected suggestions he was an absconder and said he respected the law of the land.
Mallya, a former billionaire who built his fortune on Kingfisher Beer and a current member of parliament, left India last week. More than a dozen banks - led by the country's biggest, State Bank of India - had appealed to the country's Supreme Court asking that he be prevented from leaving.
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"I am an international businessman," Mallya said in a series of postings on his official Twitter account on Friday. "I travel to and from India frequently. I did not flee from India and neither am I an absconder."
I am an international businessman. I travel to and from India frequently. I did not flee from India and neither am I an absconder. Rubbish.— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) March 10, 2016
Indian media has reported that Mallya, who is a guarantor to the Kingfisher Airlines debt, is in Britain and have said that he could be staying in a luxury residence in Hertfordshire, north of London.
The businessman did not mention his location in his tweets, but said that as a member of parliament he would fully comply with the law.
Kingfisher, once India's second-biggest airline, stopped flying in October 2012, leaving creditors, suppliers and employees unpaid. It owed banks INR90.91 billion at the end of November.
News reports that I must declare my assets. Does that mean that Banks did not know my assets or look at my Parliamentary disclosures ?— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) March 11, 2016
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The Kingfisher creditors stepped up efforts to recover the debt after Mallya last month resigned as chairman of spirits maker United Spirits, a unit of Diageo Plc. As part of that settlement, Diageo will pay Mallya $75 million over a five-year period.