An Indian entrepreneur nicknamed the "King of Good Times" will hear if he is to be extradited to his home country from the UK over unpaid loans of more than £1 billion (Dh4.7bn) from Indian banks and alleged money laundering.
Vijay Mallya, 62, whose fortune was built on the Kingfisher beer brewery set up by his father, is expected to appear at London’s Westminster Magistrates court on Monday to hear the ruling by Judge Emma Arbuthnot.
The Indian government has sought Mr Mallya's extradition based on allegations that he creamed off money from the loans to buy property instead of their intended use to assist the faltering Kingfisher Airlines, of which he was chief executive.
Despite his legal troubles, Mr Mallya continued to pursue his business interests, including as co-owner of the Force India Formula One racing team, which he sold at the beginning of this year. India's Enforcement Directorate accuses him of laundering money through this venture and his previous ownership of an Indian cricket team.
Mr Mallya lives in two multimillion pound properties in the UK, one of which overlooks London’s Regent’s Park. Both are owned by offshore entities, in an arrangement Mr Mallya has described as “perfectly legal”.
As the hearing approached, Mr Mallya took to Twitter to declare his innocence, stating he has made several offers to repay the principal amount borrowed on behalf of Kingfisher Airlines. These offers, he said, went unanswered.
Kingfisher Airlines ceased operating in 2012, just seven years after launch, under heavy debt.
At the G20 talks in November, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a nine-point plan for dealing with what he called “fugitive economic offenders”, asking other nations to assist in bringing criminals to justice.
An extradition order for Mr Mallya would be a welcome boost for his plan.