February 4, 2019 / 4:22 PM / 8 months ago

UK approves tycoon Mallya's extradition to India

Vijay Mallya leaves after his extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, in London, Britain, December 10, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

(Reuters) - The British government has signed an order to extradite Indian liquor and aviation tycoon Vijay Mallya, the UK’s Home Office said in a statement on Monday.

The order follows a London court’s ruling in December that Mallya, who moved to Britain in March 2016, be extradited to India to face fraud charges.

“After the decision was handed down on December 10, 2018 by the Westminster Magistrates Court, I stated my intention to appeal. I could not initiate the appeal process before a decision by the Home Secretary. Now I will initiate the appeal process,” Mallya tweeted late on Monday.

A court set up under the country’s anti-money laundering laws last month declared Mallya a “fugitive economic offender”, paving the way for the Indian government to seize his assets, according to Reuters partner ANI.

Mallya, the co-owner of the Formula One motor racing team Force India which went into administration in July, has denied any wrongdoing and says the case against him is politically motivated.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had cleared “one more step to get Mallya extradited,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley wrote on Twitter.

“While we welcome the UK Government’s decision in the matter, we await the early completion of the legal process for his extradition,” a government source said on Monday.

The Times of India reported news of the UK government’s order to extradite Mallya earlier on Monday.

Reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Nidhi Verma in New Delhi and Michael Holden in London ; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Sriraj Kalluvila

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