Have you seen my balance-sheet?

AN OWNER who is lying low in London, a slew of government agencies investigating fraud, a consortium of 17 banks facing hefty losses: winding up Kingfisher Airlines, an Indian carrier that stopped flying in 2012 under a pile of debts, always looked likely to make the fortunes of a few bankruptcy lawyers. It now seems that forensic accountants may get a fat payday as well, after the airline told a government agency its books had vanished. As with all important documents, it seems, a backup is nowhere to be found, if it ever existed.

The airline’s missing accounts—apparently stored on servers seized by a vendor who had gone unpaid—is an unwelcome complication for those who had hoped the Kingfisher saga might be inching towards some sort of resolution. To the dismay of Vijay Mallya, the booze scion who founded the airline in 2005 (pictured left, with Prince Charles), the case is now a tangle of bankers’ civil claims and criminal ones from authorities investigating allegations that some of the loan money went towards his foreign property purchases (accusations that Mr Mallya says he has...Continue reading