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Diageo, the UK-based producer of Johnnie Walker scotch and Smirnoff vodka, said on Friday that it filed suit this week in the UK High Court against Vijay Mallya, the Indian tycoon and founder of Diageo’s Indian subsidiary, United Spirits.
The world’s biggest distiller is pursuing Mr Mallya for payments of $181m.
The FTSE 100 company, which has paid £1.8bn for a majority stake in United Spirits, said in a statement: “Diageo is pursuing substantial repayment and compensation from Dr Vijay Mallya and certain of his affiliate companies.
The matters giving rise to these claims were clearly set out in our 2017 annual report as well as prior disclosures.”
Diageo alleges that Mr Mallya breached an agreement struck in February 2016, under which he would step down as chair of United Spirits in exchange for $75m. It paid an initial installment of $40m, which it wants back.
The group is also claiming $141m of sums owed by a company affiliated to Mr Mallya.
Mr Mallya, once known as the “king of good times” for his high lifestyle, is living in the UK where he is fighting an extradition request from the Indian government which is seeking his return to face prosecution for alleged criminal offences connected to a $134m loan granted in 2009 to his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
A spokesperson for Mr Mallya, contacted by the FT, declined to comment.