Ex-Formula 1 team owner Vijay Mallya, currently residing in the United Kingdom, has been cleared for extradition to his home country of India to stand trial.
Mallya defaulted on over $1 billion in loans, and fled India in March of 2016 to the United Kingdom. Indian authorities have since attempted to have Mallya extradited home to stand trial, and in early December, London’s Westminter Magistrates Court ruled Mallya eligible to be extradited. It handed off the decision to UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid, whom the BBC reported Monday to have approved the extradition. Mallya reportedly has 14 days to file an appeal.
The Indian mogul has denied fleeing his home country, and contested the charges leveled against him, claiming to have offered to pay off his debts in July of 2018. He also alleges that Indian authorities’ extradition attempts are politically motivated.
Mallya built his fortune on India’s Kingfisher Beer, and later attempted to expand into the air travel business with Kingfisher Airlines, though that venture went belly-up. With his wealth, he purchased the Spyker F1 team, and changed its name to Force India. Mallya lost control of the team during the summer break of the 2018 F1 season, when one of Force India’s creditors attempted to gut the team to get the money they were owed.
One of the team’s drivers, Sergio Perez, filed a countermeasure that instead placed the team’s assets on the market. These were snatched up a group of buyers led by Lawrence Stroll, father of Lance Stroll, who will race for the newly-renamed Racing Point F1 in 2019. It is unknown whether Racing Point will keep its predecessor’s VJM-prefixed car naming scheme, or adopt a new naming system for the reveal of its car on February 13.
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