Force India team principal Mallya arrested

2017 F1 season

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Force India team principal Vijay Mallya has been arrested in London, the Metropolitan police have confirmed.

“Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Extradition Unit have this morning, Tuesday 18 April arrested a man on an extraction warrant,” they confirmed in a statement.

“Vijay Mallya, 61 (18/12/1955), 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.”

Mallya attended the British Grand Prix last year
The Indian government is pursuing Mallya over alleged non-payment of fines relating to his Kingfisher Airline which collapsed in 2012. Mallya is claimed to owe more than £700 million to Indian banks.

India has sought Mallya’s extradition from Britain, where he has resided since early last year. The British Grand Prix was the only round of the world championship Mallya attended last season. He was also present at the launch of the team’s VJM10 at Silverstone earlier this year.

Mallya responded to his arrest on social media, describing it as “usual Indian media hype.”

“Extradition hearing in court started today as expected,” he added.

Mallya has claimed he is the victim of a witch-hunt by the Indian government and media. In a social media post last month he said “the allegations against me by the Attorney General before the Honourable Supreme Court only prove the attitude of the Government against me.”

“I have humbly obeyed every single Court Order without exception. Seems as if Government is bent upon holding me guilty without fair trial.”

Mallya’s Force India team has raced in F1 since 2008, when he took over the former Spyker outfit. They achieved a best of fourth place in last year’s world championship.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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61 comments on “Force India team principal Mallya arrested”

  1. He deserves no mercy. He defrauded the employees of his company and failed to submit government taxes on behalf of the individuals. No sir playing the innocent card wont work here.

    1. I’m sure he has very good lawyers who know much better than you or I which cards to play that work in his situation.

      1. Its in the hand of the lawyers, in court its better to go guilty then makes decisions

  2. I wonder if his arrest will have any negative influence on F.I perfomances.Hopefully not,but lets wait & see

    1. It won’t affect Force India. Force India is one of his few (probably only) successful ventures and it has gone from strength to strength even though Kingfisher has been going downhill. The sale of United Spirits to Diageo (if I am not wrong) also didn’t affect FI. So, this should be no problem for the team.
      As an Indian, very happy to see this though. He needs to be brought back to India now!

      1. Well,owing 700$ to banks is cer

        1. *certainly not something great.Do you know what will be the punishment to him if he returns to India?

          1. That’s 700 POUNDS, not dollars, so he owes closer to $900 Mil.

      2. I disagree with your assessment of Force India as a “successful venture”. I have inside information that they have a huge deal of outstanding payments with their suppliers. They might have had decent results on track last year, but this is in no way an indication that the team is doing well financially.

        1. Outside of the top four teams, I think you’d struggle to find an F1 team which didn’t have a large amount of outstanding payments to settle. It’s how F1 teams have had to operate in the world of Bernie’s post-Concorde commercial agreements.

          1. +1 Infact FI has one of the least outstandings. They know their limits as a budget team.

  3. Finally that criminal has been arrested. Uk has been home to many criminals off late.

    1. Well, economic times ( is reporting that, he is already out on bail, and in-fact back at home.

    2. Glad he got finally arrested,

      Sad thing is he is just the tip of the iceberg, many more like him (corrupted Indians) are out there who escaped to other countries after looting my country !

  4. Ferrari, Seb fan
    18th April 2017, 11:50

    Hope it won’t have a negative impact on force india and his cricket team.

  5. About time. Now can somebody swing past Mr. Ecclestone’s house?

  6. Good, let’s hope he has to sell the team ASAP to pay off some of his debt, the man is nothing more than a criminal, who believes being super rich puts you above the law

  7. I hope he’s judged properly in his native country and that whateber happens the f1 team isn’t terribly affected.

    If he has to pay or go to jail, tough luck. But I just wish the best to the team. They are doing a terrific job.

    1. “IF he’s judged properly in his native country” – which is highly unlikely.

  8. You really get a sense of the inanity of social media at times like this. Force India aren’t ‘engaging’ with many of the replies here:

    But it’s no laughing matter for those who work there. This will create uncertainty over the future of the team. However they’ve been very competitive in recent seasons and if Mallya is forced to sell up hopefully they will be an attractive purchase for someone.

    1. I wonder what Ron Dennis is doing now days? Actually I know, he is doing stuff for the MOD (UK Ministry of Defence). However, he must have a few hundred million to spare somewhere. Maybe he would fancy buying the team, and see it beat his old team McLaren (which frankly wouldn’t be too difficult at the moment).
      “Alls fair in Love, War and F1.” :-D

      1. @ijw1 what if they revive Force India as a “F1 Reject” team with Ron and Bernie!? xD

        1. Fans will finally have a single entity to root against.

    2. We hope so, that what tends to happen is total freeze of assets from the government which eill then make suppliers claim their withstanding deals and debts which the ends with an hasty sell of property. Sfi backers and suppliers are going to back down, the team is going to collapse quick unless both parties can settle something asap.

    3. Social media is inane? Stop the presses! I’ve never seen it used for anything other than PR, even on a personal level.

    4. Keith,

      I’m going to ask what many will regard as a question with blindingly obvious answers.
      The question is just why F1 attracts so many frankly dishonest people ? And I know the
      stark and blunt answer most writers give is that it’s a flashy, spectacular world where
      people who feel they need all the dazzle and razzmataz are drawn to buy into that
      world….even if the money they use is corruptly obtained, or just plain invented.

      But why is the FIA so weak and lacking in regulatory intelligence power and action ?

      As far as I can see, Mallya an out and out crook who stole the the hard-earned incomes
      he should have been paying to his airline staff and other robbed employees.
      And it seems the Indian court system is relatively easily manipulated by powerful
      people like Mallya.

      Another deeply unhappy advertisment for our sport.

  9. My lasting memory of this desperate attention seeker is that of a press conference last year (can’t remember which) where he coined a phrase (can’t remember what) that got a good round of laughter. He then steered every one of his subsequent answers to where he could use it again, milking it for all it was worth. By the end he was only getting a couple of chuckles from those feeling embarrassed enough for him to offer them.

    This news has given me more of a laugh than his forgettable, flogged horse of an utterance ever did.

  10. sunny stivala
    18th April 2017, 12:29

    End of the road foe Mallia.

    1. Hopefully not the end of the road for the F1 team.

  11. Thus is appears that, given the terms of the UK-India extradition treaty, Mr. Mallya’s haircut is illegal in both countries.

    1. Re haircut. Damn you beat me to it.

  12. He got bail hours after he is arrested.. :P

  13. Sure he’s a dodgy businessman, but show me a businessman that isn’t. The only ones that aren’t dodgy are the ones that haven’t been caught (or can afford to bribe their way out of it).

    1. That’s a bit unfair on all the people that legally run their own small business. I’m guessing you mean owners of big business giant companies and corporations.

  14. I used to work for an entity that leased aircraft to Kingfisher Airlines and the way they treated the aircraft (incredibly poorly, causing millions of Dollars in damage) and the way he treated the airline’s staff told me everything I needed to know about Mallya.

    He is a very foolish man and Kingfisher Airlines will prove to be one vanity project too far. It started so well but his desire to take the airline global (i.e. his ego) lead him to make a foolish purchase (of Air Deccan) without doing the appropriate due diligence. The result of that was that he got his licence to fly internationally, but he also inherited a company which was failing horribly. It was the start of the end for Kingfisher Airlines and Mallya.

  15. Is it for the haircut? or the Goatie?

  16. Tata should buy the team. At least we get to see Jaguar, Land Rover branding on force India instead of all the liquor brands.

    1. A nice idea, but I think Tata are happy to keep their road brands in Formula E at the moment.

    2. That would be incredible. They already were involved with and behind Narain Karthikeyan and HRT when they were active in F1.

    3. I don’t think Mercedes would welcome Jag branding.. while they may not actively block such a move they would make future relationship costlier. I would like to see Tata enter this team though, with or without JLR branding. I don’t think Diego is too much interested in running an F1 team.. they are just keeping along as Mallya and Sahara still have good share of investments in it and given that the team is doing well (in turn giving better TV time to their liqueur brands)
      About Mallya, I think justice needs to be done and fast but he sure deserves the credit to bring passion into the outfit, which was running low or moral & could have ended up being disbanded after changing hands multiple times and sitting at the bottom of the table..
      Going with Mercedes engines was in my opinion a risky move (then) but it worked wonders.. had they stayed or gone back with Ferrari units, value of sticker on the SFI car today would be much much less..

  17. You can’t own a football team or a TV company unless you are a “fit and proper person” but it seems F1 doesn’t bother with such silliness as professional ethics. F1 will gladly take money from despots and murderers without a sigh.

    Besides, if Force India was banned on the back of this, we’d be down to 9 teams and the grid is half empty as it is. Go to a race in any other formula and there will be a full grid and cars in the paddock that couldn’t qualify. This is how it used to be, and should be, in F1.

    1. @rsp123

      You can’t own a football team or a TV company unless you are a “fit and proper person”

      Good job you put that in quotes, haha. These people are all judged by their peers, Vijay obviously ran out of powerful friends.

    2. You can’t own a football team or a TV company unless you are a “fit and proper person”

      Half the owners of Premier League teams and Rupert Murdoch prove that statement is rubbish…

    3. Looks like one marketing policy of Bernie’s that Liberty won’t be changing is having at least one team owner/manager (or other high profile figure) from F1 facing or serving criminal charges at any given time.

  18. There is no way he will be the owner of this team if found guilty when he returns home, watch Stroll buy this team in 2 or 3 years.

  19. When’s he going to sell?

    Who’s going to buy?

    These are the important questions in the context of F1.

    If these allegations turn out to be true and he needs to release some of his equity quickly, I can only imagine the risky, cash flow throttling, F1 business would be high on his list of things to sell.

    I know very little about this case, or VM’s personal character, but I quite like him. Obviously, despite his ego and his incessant use of the phrase “shows how far we’ve come”. I’d be disappointed to learn of any dishonesty on his part.

    1. There in another problem – team’s co-owner Subrata Roy Sahara is also in a legal soup and was in Jail for more than a year. So both will have to sell it if they have to sell, so we are talking about 85% of stake.

      @square-route Tata’s are busy with their Formula E plan, and they would not want to be part of any controversies, though their recent tie up with Volkswagen may not be an example of that. Plus, Tata’s provide the technology backbone for F1’s live streaming, and hence they are getting more than enough exposure via that deal – so buying a team is the no required for them.

  20. The Banks that gave his companies loans ignored negative credit ratings and gave the money at huge risk. Well, all Indians who are shooting the hate at him should ask these banks the question – why? Who done it and what action is being taken?

    Mallya went over ambitious with Kingfisher Airlines (KFA). He pledged his personal stake in his main business to ensure he can get enough money to pay for people and continue to run KFA. Just like any other business, this one was a high risk and failed at many levels.

    The company (not him personally) reportedly owes banks 9000 crores in Indian Rupees, while he has asked banks to make a one time settlement at 6800 crores approx. The govt has already attached his properties worth 6500 crores.

    The fight is now to extract the remaining 2500 crores at minimum, without counting for interest since he left country.

    I feel for those people who lost their jobs and never got paid. KFA was a limited liability company and it is clear from the media that Mallya attempted rescue at many levels. He let go of United Spirits that was his core company by selling it to Diego, using some of this proceeds to pay off debts KFA had incurred.

    While there are allegations of him trying to siphon off 900 crore loan and didn’t use the amount is the big one in limelight today for which MalMall demanded a fair trail. But the Indian media went ballistic on the news that people started reacting. And once people do, govt had to move swiftly. Mallya, being a member of upper house in Parliament, attended to his business just the day before he left India.

    We Indians find it quite easy to sensationalize stuff and over react at it. Just like the 1,76,000 crores corruption scandal on the 2g spectrum case. The amount was an assumption over so many years but that one number took a entire government down.

    Let me also addt.hat I am not a Mallya well wisher – SFI, YES! Small but a team that constantly punched above their weight and continue to do so.

    1. Thanks for that comment, these cases are hugely complex and i hate media and public all ganging up against one person. Vijay might have done some dodgy deals and behaved in less than nice ways but he also has achieved a lot and i think India and F1 Fans should be proud of that. He is an entrepreneur and is passionate, his gain is what he seeks but along the way a lot of staff can win and earn a living, his loss is also shared by unfortunate workers, that is capitalism and as you mentioned, it is very rare one person is fully responsible for a failure, a whole system has failed with him at the top, the target with a face, not the banks who lent funds, not the government who certainly had a hand in it, not the directors of his businesses who conduct the day to day tasks and make sure the business runs smoothly or even the workers that if they see bad practices can speak up (even though that might be difficult to actually change anything). I both admire and resent Vijay, i dont take sides, he is partly responsible so must answer questions about bankruptcy so he should face/fess up but he also is a rare, atypical and somewhat endearing figure in F1 and that is to be acknowledged.

      1. Finally a comment that makes sense. Thank you for your sharing your views @dubaemon, I agree word to word of what you wrote. In F1 world, we have many such people.. Bernie and Flavio to just name a few. Business and deals are many a times away from the public view, unless something like this flares up.

        I also would add that when KFA was doing well, everyone made money – from the employees to shareholders and Mallya himself. When it went bust, everyone else washed their hands off. That is the crude reality of any business.

  21. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    19th April 2017, 0:33

    A question for anyone, if he had to sell Force India and from my just reading about the amount of money he owes($900 Million almost 1Billion!) he won’t have a choice, what would a future F1 owner be willing to pay for Force India?

    1. Mallya only owns 42.5% stake, with Sahara owning the other 42.5%. Micheal Mol family owns the 15%. Still will be a drop in the ocean, or may be a 1.6 liter. :)

  22. Only a matter of time for that dude.

  23. im more worried about the team.
    right now F1 doesnt need to lose anoher team. it doesnt need to be down to 18 car grid.
    and it doesnt need to lose a team like force india.

  24. @keithcollantine, I dont know why i cant see my comment? Guess it was in your approval queue.

  25. Glad to hear it!

    Hope Tata, or any other company, buys the team out and re-brands it.

    1. Perhaps not Tata as I had said above.

      Tata’s are busy with their Formula E plan (with Jaguar), and they would not want to be part of any controversies, though their recent tie up with Volkswagen may not be an example of that. Plus, Tata’s provide the technology backbone for F1’s live streaming, and hence they are getting more than enough exposure via that deal – so buying a (F1) team is the no required for them.

      Any other company if from India, will be a consortium as they may not want to take the risk that Mallya took by going solo (even though he shared 15% equity with Mol family of Germany).

      1. Errr… Mol family of Nederlands.

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