Is the UK accidentally harbouring one of the world's most indebted men?
Indian drinks boss Vijay Mallya has had to vigorously himself from claims he has become one of the world's most impressive absconders, after it was suggested in the country's Supreme Court that he flew out of India to London on 2 March, leaving some $1.4bn (£980m) in debts.
India's Supreme Court heard he left the country at the start of the month during a trial in which several, mainly state-owned, banks tried to recover their loans.
The country's attorney general, Mukul Rohatgi, spoke on behalf of the banks at the trial on Wednesday, claiming the 60-year-old had left after stepping down as chairman of United Spirits, the Indian arm of Diageo, the British beverage major, following allegations of lapses in payments.
"Please ask Mr Mallya to come back and appear in the supreme court and disclose all his assets," Rohatgi said as he addressed the court.
But Mallya took to Twitter to defend his position as a non-absconder, claiming the allegations he'd left because of his mounting debts were "[r]ubbish" and criticising the Indian media:
The editor of Times Now needs to be in prison clothes and eat prison food for libel, deceit, slander and absolutely sensational lies.— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) March 10, 2016
I am an international businessman. I travel to and from India frequently. I did not flee from India and neither am I an absconder. Rubbish.— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) March 10, 2016
As an Indian MP I fully respect and will comply with the law of the land. Our judicial system is sound and respected. But no trial by media.— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) March 10, 2016
Let media bosses not forget help, favours,accommodation that I have provided over several years which are documented. Now lies to gain TRP ?— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) March 10, 2016
News reports that I must declare my assets. Does that mean that Banks did not know my assets or look at my Parliamentary disclosures ?— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) March 11, 2016
On 25 February Diageo announced an agreement with Mallya for his resignation as chairman and non-executive director of United Spirits, which included a financial agreement that provides Mallya with a payment of $75m over a five-year period.
Diageo were not available for comment.