Former billionaire Vijay Mallya lost a bid at a London appeal court to block his extradition to India, putting the fallen tycoon one step closer to facing fraud and money-laundering charges in his home country.
A London appeal court upheld a 2018 ruling to send him back to India over allegations that Mallya made a number of misrepresentations leading to the 2012 collapse of his company, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.
Mallya, who's known as the "King of Good Times" in India, was arrested in London in April 2017 after 17 banks accused him of willfully defaulting on more than 91 billion rupees ($1.3 billion) in debt accumulated by Kingfisher Airlines - a full-service carrier he founded in 2005 and shut down seven years later. A willful defaulter refuses to repay loans despite having the means to do so.
Lawyers for the Indian tycoon, who is currently on bail, didn't immediately return calls and messages seeking comment. He has the right to seek an appeal one more time to the U.K. Supreme Court.
The Indian government said in February that Mallya must face trial in relation to "a very substantial allegation of dishonesty."
Mallya had been allowed to appeal on the basis that the lower court judge went too far in her earlier ruling, which at times was more aggressive than the Indian government's own charges. But the appeal judges dismissed that argument, saying that her findings meant that a jury would agree that Mallya had a case to answer.
Mallya is also fighting a number of civil cases in the U.K. after defaulting on the loans. He faces a bankruptcy petition from 12 state-owned Indian banks over $1.5 billion in debt, as well as a number of freezing orders on several of his assets, including his properties, yachts, cars and paintings.