Force India F1 boss arrested in UK over fraud allegations


Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner Dr. Vijay Mallya during the Force India 2017 Car Launch at Silverstone, Towcester. ... Force India 2017 Car Launch - Silverstone ... 22-02-2017 ... Towcester ... UK ... Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire. Unique Reference No. 30219638 ... Picture date: Wednesday February 22, 2017. See PA story AUTO Force India. Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Commercial use with prior consent from teams.

Indian Formula 1 team boss Vijay Mallya was arrested in London yesterday after his airline company collapsed owing billions of rupees.

Metropolitan Police officers detained the 61-year-old at the request of Indian authorities over allegations of fraud in his native country related to the collapse of Kingfisher Airlines, with unpaid debt believed to be in the region of £1 billion.

Mallya, who co-owns the Force India F1 team, appeared before Westminster magistrates and posted bail of £650,000 to return for an extradition hearing on May 17.

The multimillionaire, who denies any wrongdoing, has been living in a Hertfordshire mansion that used to be owned by Lewis Hamilton's father.

Taking to Twitter, Mallya said that the story was just "media hype" and said that the visit to court was "expected" ahead of his extradition hearing.

Mallya made the majority of his money from the Kingfisher brand of beers and spirits, then moved into the worlds of F1 and aviation. However, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has made it a priority to bring the businessman back to the country to face trial.

He is alleged to owe 94bn rupees (£1.1bn) to state-owned banks following the collapse of Kingfisher Airlines in 2012.

Mallya, who was given conditional bail, denies claims that he fled to the UK in March 2016 to avoid arrest, saying that he regularly does business here. However, the Indian government revoked his passport last April and filed formal fraud charges against him.