Ruling on the issue of sending Vijay Mallya’s bank account details to India, judges of the Swiss Federal Tribunals turned down the fugitive businessman’s plea that CBI proceedings against him were “seriously flawed” since the key investigator himself was facing corruption charges.
The judgments were uploaded by Gotham Digest which monitors all Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) requests to Swiss Federal Courts. The Digest stated that the argument of Mallya’s Swiss lawyers that “the person in charge of the investigation (Special Director Rakesh Asthana) being himself accused of corruption did not convince the Court”.
Three judgments were pronounced by the Swiss Federal Tribunals in Lausanne on November 26 and November 29.
Their reading shows that Mallya’s lawyers had made a last-ditch effort to stop his bank account details from reaching the CBI by invoking Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which protects the right to fair trial, and linking it to allegations of corruption being faced by the key investigator in the CBI.
The appeals filed before the Swiss Federal Tribunals followed three orders of August 14, 2018 by the Public Prosecutor of the Canton of Geneva to transmit details of Mallya’s bank accounts to India in response to a MLAT request from the CBI. On December 10, 2018, a UK court ordered the extradition of Mallya to India.
In a key ruling, Swiss Federal Tribunal judges, however, ruled that the plea of violation of ECHR protection did not apply in this case and that submissions made by Mallya’s Swiss lawyers did not “constitute a ground for entry into the matter”.
The November 26 order stated “where the accused person resides in a third State and is the subject of a request for extradition by the requesting State, it is for the State of residence to consider the question of the regularity of the criminal proceedings. In so far as it is a State which, as well as Switzerland, is bound by respect for the ECHR and the UN Covenant II and liable to engage its own responsibility, there is no reason to doubt that this question will, if necessary, be examined in accordance with the requirements of treaty law’’.
As reported earlier by The Indian Express, an order passed by the special CBI court in Mumbai allowed the attachment or restrain of amounts lying in four accounts — one in the name of Mallya in Edmond De Rethchild (Suisse) SA Bank, Switzerland and three associated accounts of Drayton Resources, Black Forest Holdings and Harrison Finance Ltd in CBH Bank in Switzerland till further order.
According to Gotham Digest, Mallya’s implicated companies such as Ladywalk Investments and Rose Capital Ventures were used by him to purchase a house in London with a loan from Swiss Bank UBS and other companies, namely, Continental Administration Services; First Euro Commercial Investments and Modall Securities were used partly to finance the Force India F1 racing team.
Another order of the Swiss Federal Tribunal on November 29, 2018 stated that details of Mallya and his company accounts were being cleared for transmission to India since this request corresponded with the concept of “widest possible” mutual assistance between India and Switzerland.