June 12, 2016 / 7:07 PM / 3 years ago

Exiled tycoon Mallya: India wrong to sequester some assets in graft case

Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya speaks to the media during a news conference in Mumbai November 15, 2011. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash/File photo

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Exiled tycoon Vijay Mallya said on Sunday that Indian authorities trying to recover about $1.4 billion from his collapsed Kingfisher Airlines had no legal grounds for sequestering certain assets in a money laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) tweeted on Saturday that it had “attached” properties worth 14.11 billion Indian rupees ($210.78 million) in the case involving a loan from state-owned IDBI Bank (IDBI.NS) to Kingfisher to buy properties abroad.

The assets were purchased several years before Kingfisher was launched, Mallya said in a statement to the media on Sunday.

“There is no rationale nor any legal basis for the series of actions initiated by the ED which is now making it more difficult to raise resources to pay the banks,” Mallya said.

The ED says Mallya’s United Breweries Group used 4.3 billion rupees of Kingfisher bank loans to buy property overseas.

Mallya’s statement said Kingfisher had provided evidence that the funds were used for legitimate business purposes.

Creditors, led by State Bank of India (SBI.NS), have rejected an offer of partial repayment by Mallya, who had given a personal guarantee for the Kingfisher loan. They want the former billionaire, who is living in Britain, to attend a hearing in India’s Supreme Court.

The foreign ministry in April revoked a diplomatic passport that he carried as a member of parliament’s upper house. A judge in Mumbai has non-bailable warrant for his arrest.

($1 = 66.9423 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Swati Bhat; Editing by Louise Ireland

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