Some say there is never smoke without fire and boy has there been many years of smoke emanating from the force India camp, hardly a surprise when examining the track record of team boss and part owner Vijay Mallya.
The financial dealings of the Indian magnate have often being a source of many column inches over the years, and the latest news sees the Indian owner yet again quash any rumours about his selling the race team.
TJ13 reported some weeks ago, after the Monaco weekend, that a deal had been struck with the energy drinks company Rich energy, but yet further denials continue to emanate from Mallya.
“Speculation remains speculation,” Mallya says.
But yet the Indian team owner refuses to quash the idea of selling force India by admitting:
“All I can say is that if there is a credible offer with cash on the table, then I’ll be the first one to discuss it with a business partner and see what they mean,”
“In the unlikely event that we want to sell the team and there is an offer that we can not refuse, then I’ll be the first to announce it,”
Could there be an ulterior motive for Mallya hang on to force India?
The 62-year-old is still living in exile in the UK since an arrest warrant was issued in his native India and his diplomatic passport was invalidated two years ago.
Then he resigned as CEO of Force India, but remained shareholder and team boss. And yet he still struggles with the legal issues he’s been facing since the bankruptcy of Kingfisher.
Indeed wage arrears forced meant that the Indian billionaire lost his latest super yacht, the Indian Empress having been seized earlier this year in Malta. That particular asset was sold via the courts for an reputed 43.5 million Euros.
It has been alleged that he had been using the force India Formula 1 team as a means of money laundering. The Indian Enforcement Directorate (ED), a law enforcement agency, accuses him of having channeled 2.55 billion Indian rupees (about 32 million euros) to Britain and his Formula 1 team, along with his cricket team.
In total, the allegations amount to more than € 1.1 billion borrowed from the Kingfisher airline.
TJ13 Has understood for some time with it the Formula 1 team has suffered internally from serious cash flow problems stopping the team from making purchases from suppliers within the UK.
Indeed TJ13 has been approached in the winter of this year, by a disgruntled employee who had – along with the other 405 team members – been denied a promised bonus payment of two and a half thousand pounds for their outstanding performance in 2017.
And what is laughable is that man himself continues to publicly deny any wrongdoing, and in fact brand himself a victim of the situation, as evidence by latest Tweets.
… to the sale of assets, it will clearly demonstrate that there is an agenda against me “the Poster Boy” beyond recovery of dues. I continue to make every effort, in good faith to settle with the banks. If politically motivated factors interfere, there is nothing I can do…3/3
— Vijay Mallya (@TheVijayMallya) June 27, 2018
Mallya Is very dismissive of all allegations and speculation claiming that it’s “a clear example of politically motivated abuse of power without a legal basis”, “a chase” and “another attempt to target me”.
Perhaps selling the force India team for the correct amount that will help alleviate the financial black hole he finds himself in, is in fact the motivation behind the possible sale of the Formula 1 team to Rich energy?
Certainly the rumour that TJ13 heard on good authority about the purchasing force India team principal by William story the CEO of Rich energy, has been debunked by Mallya over the months.
“I can confirm that Rich Energy has filed an official offer to buy Formula One Team Force India at the end of April,” Storey is quoted by the Telegraph. And he emphasizes: “This offer was accepted in principle.”
Rich Energy has even deposited a reserve in the eight-figure range in order to develop the team, and offered 100 million British pounds (just under 114 million euros) as a purchase price.
When the first rumours started in February, there was talk of £200 million as a price tag. The Telegraph then reported last month, that over 150 million have been negotiated. It is alleged that the total sum had been reduced after a financial audit of Force India revealing significant monies still owed to creditors.
Whatever happens to force India in the coming months one thing is certain and that is that Vijay Mallya is unlikely to be connected to the team for much longer.