Mallya is still in charge

Vijay Mallya says he is still in charge of Force India. In which case, Diageo is still claiming $135 million from Mallya’s company Watson Ltd (Mauritius). The drinks company’s loan guarantee was secured with Watson’s shares in Force India (42.5 percent) so, Mallya owes them $135 million or has to hand over the shares. He can delay that a while, by pointing, pulling a funny face and saying “Blimey a flying elephant” and then running out of the room, but one supposes that Diageo is now pretty fed up with him. I imagine that he cannot pull $135 million out of his briefcase without getting into all kinds of trouble with the throngs of other creditors in India, so he is in a bit of a spot, isn’t he?

He doesn’t have the money to buy the other 42.5 percent shareholding that belongs (on paper) to jailed partner Roy Subrata Sahara. His share in the team, acquired for $100 million in 2011, is now worth what someone will pay for it (in other words, next to nothing). Sahara needs $700 million to get out of jail, and does not have many assets left. He is not going to be happy to give his share of the team away, so he might as well stay “inside” and get free board and lodging. The bad new is that the courts may end up seizing his assets and selling them for what they are worth (i.e. next to nothing).

I cannot imagine that Vijay will go to visit Sahara. One needs to be careful what you do in a place where a man can go to jail for two years without being charged… It is safer in Hertfordshire.