Former Force India owner, Dr. Vijay Mallya, may have to return to his hometown of India after a London court ruled that the millionaire should be extradited to India, from where he fled in March 2016, though he has denied these allegations.
The ruling is the latest in a series of body blows for Mallya, as his financial situation meant that the Force India team had to be taken to court by its driver, Sergio Perez, who did it to ‘save’ the team. It was eventually rescued by a Lawrence Stroll-led consortium of investors.
Mallya ‘left’ India in 2016 after he allegedly swindled several banks by defaulting on loans of almost a $1 billion. He sought refuge in the UK and has made several public appearances since, before falling off the grid in August this year when Force India were sold.
“My legal team will be reviewing the judgment in detail and determining the next steps forward,” said the former Force India owner, when asked if he would appeal the ruling. All hope is not lost though for the tycoon as the ruling is still awaiting the approval of the Home Secretary.
He ventured into F1 after his hugely successful business, Kingfisher beer, made it big. He bought the then Spyker F1 team, which was itself a rebranded Jordan and named it Force India, to give India its first representation in F1 as a team.
His issues with the law meant that Force India could not develop their car for a long time, resulting in poor results for the team before the mid-season break but Stroll’s money propelled them to their usual status of a mid-table team.
It also meant that his son, Lance Stroll, will drive for the team alongside Perez in 2019.The Canadian was the last driver to be confirmed in the line-up for next year, but it was probably the worst kept secret, considering Stroll’s buyout of the team.