While his Formula One team continues to carry the Force India flag, owner Vijay Mallya may get forced back to India soon. Mallya, accused by Indian authorities of fraud and owing $1.4 billion to banks, could face even more charges than he did upon arrest and possible extradition from Britain to India.
Mallya, 61, is an Indian business tycoon in the alcohol and airline industries. British authorities arrested him in London in April on charges from Indian authorities, which alleged his involvement in fraud and conspiracy in India. Mallya insisted in 2016 that he didn’t flee India to escape the nearly $1.4 billion owed by his defunct Kingfisher Airlines and the resulting political drama from it, but his location was unknown at the time.
That’s not fishy at all, and neither is his defunct airline. Nope.
These days, we at least know Mallya is in the United Kingdom and has been for over a year. There was an initial request in February to have Mallya extradited from Britain to India to face the charges over there. And Reuters reports that Mallya’s lawyer said in a London court hearing Tuesday that Indian authorities could be preparing a second request to extradite him.
Throughout the charges and drama between himself and Indian authorities, Mallya has brushed things off. He called the coverage of his initial arrest the “usual Indian media hype” on Twitter—he’s great at Twitter for a dude facing such serious charges—and Reuters reports that he denied all of the allegations that have been made against him. Reuters quoted him as saying he has “enough evidence to prove [his] case,” and that he won’t be selling his F1 team.
The extradition process in Britain is long and complicated, according to Reuters. Decisions about this kind of case can also move to higher courts or be appealed before being approved, Reuters reports:
The next hearing will be held on July 6 when Mallya, who was granted an extension to his bail, was told he need not attend. The full extradition hearing was provisionally listed to start on Dec. 4 and to last two weeks.
Aaron Watkins, the lawyer representing the Indian government, told the court that prosecutors in Britain were still waiting for documentation and evidence from India and this was expected to arrive in the next month.
However, any delays or a second extradition request could push the case back to April next year, the court heard.
Even if extradition and some big bills are in his future, it sounds like Mallya will be staying in the U.K. for quite a while before any of that happens.
And if he wants to get a head start on paying those bills, Mallya could always sell the country home that Reuters reports he bought from the father of three-time F1 champions Lewis Hamilton.
Yeah, that apparently happened, too. This stuff just keeps getting weirder.