One year after the Indian government revoked Vijay Mallya’s passport, British authorities arrested the Sahara Force India owner, forcing him to appear in court for a preliminary extradition hearing. Though it could be a long time before he actually is brought back to his home country.
Despite the two countries having an extradition treaty, some legal experts suspect it might be a while before the Formula One team owner stands trial in India, assuming he ever does, according to Quartz India.
“Although the U.K. and India have a long-standing extradition treaty, there has reportedly been only one successful extradition from the U.K. to India previously,” Jenny Barker, of London’s Peters and Peters law firm, told Quartz.
“This is likely to take months or years to complete, and there may well be several further hearings.”
Mallya fled to the U.K. to prevent being arrested in India for roughly $1.28 billion in debts he owes to state-owned banks following the collapse of Kingfisher Airlines in 2012, according the Guardian. The 61-year-old was arrested Tuesday “on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud” in connection to Kingfisher, released on 650,000 pounds ($830,765) bond and is scheduled to have an extradition hearing on May 17.
India revoked Mallya’s passport in 2016, shortly before he made an appearance at the F1 British Grand Prix. During that weekend’s FIA press conference, he downplayed the situation and reaffirmed his commitment to Force India.
Should Mallya be extradited and subsequently convicted of fraud, it will be interesting to see whether Force India rethinks the naming strategy for its F1 challengers, which currently involves using his initials. It’s current car, for example, is dubbed the VM10, as it’s the 10th car the team has produced.
Thumbnail photo via Sahara Force India