India declares tycoon Mallya a 'fugitive economic offender'

In this, Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, file photo, Indian businessman Vijay Mallya is surrounded by the media as he leaves Westminster Magistrates Court in London. An Indian court has declared tycoon Vijay Mallya a fugitive economic offender, a ruling that empowers authorities to confiscate his properties and assets. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
In this Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, file photo, Indian businessman Vijay Mallya takes a smoking break outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London. An Indian court has declared tycoon Vijay Mallya a fugitive economic offender, a ruling that empowers authorities to confiscate his properties and assets. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

NEW DELHI — An Indian court on Saturday declared tycoon Vijay Mallya a "fugitive economic offender," a ruling that empowers authorities to confiscate his properties and other assets.

Judge M.S. Azmi's decision came less than a month after a British Court ruled that the 62-year-old Mallya should be extradited to India to face financial fraud allegations. Mallya remains free on bail in London and can appeal the ruling.

Mallya, who left India in 2016, is accused of money laundering and cheating Indian banks out of hundreds of millions of dollars. He has denied wrongdoing.

He was declared a fugitive economic offender under a new Indian law that applies to a person accused of financial fraud of over 1 billion rupees ($14.2 million) and who has fled India to avoid prosecution.

Mallya, who in 1983 became chairman of an alcohol company once led by his father, was a leading figure among India's business elite. He launched Kingfisher Airlines and had an ownership stake in India's Formula One racing team.

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