Former F1 team boss facing four-months jail

Vijay Mallya

The former owner of the Force India Formula 1 team has been sentenced to jail after being found guilty of contempt

Vijay Mallya is set to spend four months behind bars upon his return to India for failing to comply with a previous court order.

In 2017, he was found guilty of a similar offence when he made a $40 million transfer to his children from his business, Kingfhisher Airlines, while company debts mounted.

He was found guilty of contempt for failing to disclose his assets after defaulting on a loan.

Since 2016, Mallya has been based in the United Kingdom, leaving India with debts of over $1 billion.

He denies fleeing his homeland to avoid prosecution.

In 2018, the Westminster Magistrates Court ruled that the businessman could be extradited to India, a decision he announced he would appeal.

That was lost in the High Court in London in 2020, though he is understood to have remained in the English capital.

Mallya made his wealth brewing beer, before branching out into the airline industry and, ultimately, Formula 1.

He acquired what was originally the Jordan F1 team, then known as Spyker, in late 2007, as part of a consortium that also included Dutch businessman Michiel Mol.

However, as Mallya’s legal issues mounted, the team was placed into administration by the High Court in London midway through the 2018 season, with its assets picked up by a group led by Lawrence Stroll.

The continued under the Force India name for the balance of the year, though lost its constructors’ points prior to Stroll’s acquisition, before being rebranded to Racing Point and, most recently, Aston Martin.

Mallya is not the only ex-Formula 1 personality currently facing legal trouble, with Bernie Ecclestone set to be charged with fraud.

The billionaire former head of the sport’s commercial business, Ecclestone is accused of misrepresenting an estimated $700 million worth of assets.

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