Formula One’s Force India team owner Vijay Mallaya has been arrested in London, Metropolitan Police announces.
London’s Metropolitan police have just announced that they have arrested Vijay Mallya on grounds of extradition to India in relation to accusations of fraud and conspiracy against him. The accusations come in regards over Mallya’s former – and now defunct business – Kingfisher Airlines, and after Indian officials lodged a formal request to see Mallya extradited on February 8th.
The statement from the Metropolitan Police is as follows:
“Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Extradition Unit have this morning, Tuesday 18 April arrested a man on an extraction warrant.
Vijay Mallya, 61, was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud.
He was arrested after attending a central London police station, and will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court later today, 18 April.” – London Metropolitan Police
Mallya, understandably, has downplayed the importance of the arrest on twitter, saying:
“Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in Court started today as expected.” – Vijay Mallya
While the chance of the incident being played up by media channels is a definite possibility, Mallya’s arrest doesn’t really come as a shock to the sport. The Force India boss had only attended one Grand Prix during the 2016 Formula One season – the British GP. The reason being that Mallya had his diplomatic passport revoked back in April of 2016. After a warrant had been issued for his arrest in India, he elected to remain living in the United Kingdom.
As Mallya has been massively absent from his team out on the paddock or in the box, it’s tempting to say that his continued absence will not bring any detriment to the team’s efforts. And yet, if things continue to sour for Mallya, we may see Force India make some leadership changes.