Playthings in Peril

To stave off the bankruptcy of his airline, Vijay Mallya, India’s booze tycoon, put up $1.1 billion in personal guarantees. Here’s some of what he’s sitting on.

By Alex Cuadros


African Game Reserve

The 30,000-acre “malaria-free” Mabula game reserve, outside Johannesburg, is home to elephants, white rhinos, hippos, leopards, pythons, and crocodiles. Mallya once said, “It’s magical.”

Cricket Franchise

Mallya bought the Royal Challengers Bangalore cricket team, runner-up in the Indian Premier League last year, for $112 million in 2008. He installed his 25-year-old son, Sidhartha, as the team’s director.

Luxury Building

Mallya owns a 55 percent stake in Kingfisher Towers, a 34-story high-rise under construction in Bangalore. He razed his ancestral home to build it, but he plans to put his own new “White House” mansion on top.


By 2009, Mallya owned 250 vintage cars, including a 1913 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, a 1953 Alfa Romeo Bucci Special, and a 1955 Porsche Spyder. He has said, “These are sound investments... which keep going up in value.”

Ghandi’s Belongings

In 2008, Mallya spent $1.8 million on eyeglasses, sandals, a pocket watch, and a supper bowl that had belonged to Mahatma Gandhi. “I’m a patriotic Indian, and I felt I owed it to my country,” he has said.


He uses his 295-foot yacht, the Indian Empress, in photo shoots for the annual swimsuit calendar for his beer brand. It has elevators, a helipad, a gym, a salon, a spa, and a baby grand piano that once belonged to Elton John.

F1 Team

Mallya owns a 42.5 percent stake in the Sahara Force India Formula One team, which he founded in 2007. Valued at $235 million today, it’s the only Indian team in the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Beachfront Villa

Mallya throws lavish New Year’s parties at his $16 million Kingfisher Villa in Goa. He built it to gratify a displeased deity worshiped by his family. The helipad here doubles as a dance floor during parties.


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