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Former F1 team owner Vijay Mallya to be extradited over fraud charges

Former Formula 1 team owner and team principal Vijay Mallya faces extradition to India over fraud charges following approval by the UK’s Home Office.

Mallya bought out the old Spyker team for £75 million in 2007 to form the Force India F1 Team and served as team boss until the outfit entered administration during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.

The Indian-born businessman, who was once worth billions thanks to his spirits empire, faced financial difficulties after his airline, Kingfisher Airlines, lost its licence to operate and defaulted on several loans worth hundreds of millions.

Creditors have been chasing Mallya for years and campaigning Indian courts to issue an arrest warrant for the 63-year-old, of which two did in 2016. However it has taken until now for the British government to agree to the order to extradite Mallya back to India, where he will face several charges of fraud and money laundering.

Mallya though insists he is the target of a politically motivated witch hunt and confirmed his intention to appeal the extradition decision.

“After the decision was handed down on December 10, 2018 by the Westminster Magistrates Court, I stated my intention to appeal. I could not initiate the appeal process before a decision by the Home Secretary. Now I will initiate the appeal process,” he wrote on Twitter.

The Force India team was purchased by a consortium led by F1 driver Lance Stroll’s father Lawrence Stroll and completed the 2018 season under the Racing Point Force India moniker and will be relaunched for the 2019 season, likely as just Racing Point after a reported deal to use the Lola name fell through.

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