Former Force India team owner Vijay Mallya will be extradited to India over allegations of fraud totalling around $1bn.
The UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has ordered the extradition of the 63-year-old businessman, whose companies include Kingfisher Beers and formerly Kingfisher Airlines, to face allegations of financial crimes in India.
Following a decision in December to refer a court-ruled extradition to the Home Secretary for approval, the decision has now been made to complete the process.
Mallya currently resides in Hertfordshire after leaving India in 2016, and has previously stated his intention to pay back the debt.
He says that he will take up the option to appeal the decision, something which he has 14 days to submit.
After the decision was handed down on December 10,2018 by the Westminster Magistrates Court, I stated my intention to appeal. I could not initiate the appeal process before a decision by the Home Secretary. Now I will initiate the appeal process.
— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) 4 February 2019
Once one of India’s wealthiest people, Mallya made his fortune in Kingfisher Beers before branching out into cricket and Formula One, where he bought the Spyker team and set up Force India.
Whilst the team flourished in the midfield, his newly-founded airline business, Kingfisher Airlines, was struggling, and their planes were grounded in 2012 after the company’s applications for fresh loans were denied.
Debts which include operating costs and unpaid wages are predicted to exceed $1bn.
He eventually became a figure that was rarely seen in the Formula One paddock, and his attendances would be limited to British-based events, such as Force India’s car launches and the British Grand Prix.
He handed over his director role at Force India to his son Siddarth in May 2018 in order to focus on his ongoing legal issues, but a couple of months later Force India was brought into administration on the Friday before the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The administrators then agreed a deal with a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll to buy the team and bring it back out of administration just two weeks later.
The team will race under the Racing Point name in 2019 – with drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll – and their livery launch will take place on 13th February. They have also completed the switch to a new Twitter handle.
Update your bookmarks.
— Racing Point F1 Team (@RacingPointF1) 5 February 2019
By: Luke Murphy
All images: Motorsport Images