Moving to Britain, says Mallya

Bengaluru, Feb 25 (IANS) Liquor baron Vijay Mallya said that he is moving to Britain to be closer to his children following his dramatic resignation as chairman of United Spirits Ltd and becoming its founder emeritus on Thursday.

“Having recently turned 60, I have decided to spend more time in England (Britain), closer to my children,” Mallya said in a statement here after he entered into a $75 million deal with USL’s majority stakeholder British liquor major Diageo plc.

Observing that time had come for him to move on and end all the publicised allegations and uncertainties over his relationship with Diageo and USL, the flamboyant tycoon said the agreement he had reached with both the firms would secure his family legacy.

“I have agreed a mutual release with both Diageo and United Spirits from claims concerning the alleged irregularities disclosed by USL in April 2015,” Mallya said.

Diageo appointed global audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India to do forensic investigation of USL accounts, following discrepancies, including financial irregularities, which included writing off Rs.7,200 crore from books.

Expressing satisfaction on steering the country’s largest liquor firm to 120 million cases per annum from three million cases over three decades ago, Mallya, who is an independent MP in the Rajya Sabha, said his new position as founder emeritus recognised his contribution in building the company and evoked great emotions.

“I fondly remember, as a young boy, launching McDowell’s, the largest brand in the industry. I also recall challenges and sacrifices in the tumultuous acquisition of Shaw Wallace and Royal Challenge brand,” he said.

On the sporting front, Mallya would be the chief mentor of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), which plays in the Indian Premier League T20 tournament.

“I have been passionate about this team since inception and am determined to do whatever I can to win the IPL trophy. I am glad that my son, Sidhartha, will remain as a director as he is equally passionate about RCB,” he added.

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