Ex-Force India owner Mallya sentenced to jail

Jamie Woodhouse
Vijay Mallya, former owner of Force India, speaking at a season launch. England, February 2017.

Vijay Mallya, former owner of the Force India Formula 1 team, has been sentenced to jail in India for disobeying a court order.

A report by BBC News states that on Monday, India’s Supreme Court found Mallya guilty of contempt, which allegedly relates to a failure “to disclose his assets after defaulting on a loan”.

The report links this to the Kingfisher Airlines brand which Mallya owned before it closed in 2012.

Mallya moved from India to London in 2016 – he denied fleeing the country – following a failure to pay debts which totalled in excess of £840million.

Previously, India has attempted to extradite Mallya so he could face charges, including fraud, in his native country in regard to alleged financial irregularities at Kingfisher Airlines.

Even though he lost an appeal at the High Court in London, the BBC state Mallya is believed to still be residing in the English capital.

In 2017, he had also been convicted of contempt after transferring $40million to his children in violation of court orders.

The Indian Supreme Court has now sentenced him to a jail term of four months.

Mallya is a well-known figure in the world of Formula 1 having co-led a consortium that purchased Spyker in 2007, rebranding the team to Force India for the 2008 season.

As the accusations of fraud and struggles to meet debts intensified for Mallya, Force India went into administration in 2018 before being taken over by Lawrence Stroll’s consortium of investors, who changed the team name to Racing Point and later Aston Martin.

During their time in Formula 1, Force India built up a reputation for often challenging the bigger teams despite operating on a smaller budget.

The team claimed six podium finishes, while their one and only pole position came courtesy of Giancarlo Fisichella at the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix.