Ex ‘Indian Empress’ owner faces extradition and former crew receive outstanding wages
The former owner of the superyacht Indian Empress, Vijay Mallya has been told by Westminster Magistrates Court that he can be extradited to India to face allegations of fraud and money laundering.
On Monday the court rejected arguments made by Mallya’s legal team and saw no reason why the extradition should not proceed. The alleged criminality relates to the collapse of Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines in 2012.
The Indian government believes Mallya misused loans, but he maintains that the airline collapsed through legitimate business and market pressures.
Mallya also built India’s largest alcoholic drinks business and was known as the “King of good times.”
In September Mallya’s superyacht Indian Empress was sold for 35 million euros by the Maltese courts to generate funds to pay creditors and crew. Mallya abandoned the yacht in September 2017.
The crew of Indian Empress have been awarded almost $1 million dollars in unpaid wages.
Nautilus, the crew’s union representative, announced last week that it had concluded negotiations with court authorities in Malta and successfully secured the outstanding wages of $290,426 – funds that became available through the yacht’s sale.
The Nautilus legal team had previously managed to secure an initial total of $615,000 dollars in owed wages following discussions with the superyacht’s protection and indemnity insurer under the terms of the Maritime Labour Convention’s financial security provisions.
‘We are glad that we were able to help our members in this way,” Nautilus strategic organiser Danny McGowan, commented. “It is so important that maritime professionals working onboard superyachts join Nautilus before they encounter this type of issue, as waiting until they have a problem normally means that it is too late.
‘If the shipowner had a relationship with Nautilus, we are sure that we could have resolved the issue without resorting to arresting and selling the vessel,” said McGowan. “Again, we issue our call to superyacht owners, managers and other potential strategic partners to work with us in order to try and prevent situations escalating as they did here.”
Mallya may decide to pursue other legal avenues to stop his extradition.
The judge stated in the judgement that: “In the light of the decisions outlined I am sending Dr Mallya’s case to the Home Secretary for a decision to be taken on whether to order his extradition.”