Lon­don court tells Mallya to pay Force In­dia bro­ker

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport - Naomi Can­ton

Lon­don: A Lon­don court has or­dered Vi­jay Mallya’s Force In­dia -in liq­ui­da­tion -- to pay £150k (Rs 130 lakh) to a bro­ker which helped it get its multi-mil­lion ‘Pink Pan­ther’ BWT spon­sor­ship deal.

The com­mer­cial court of the High Court ruled that AMP Ad­vi­sory and Man­age­ment Part­ners (AMP) in Liecht­en­stein, “made a con­tri­bu­tion” to the ti­tle spon­sor­ship deal with Aus­trian wa­ter tech­nol­ogy com­pany BWT which led to the cars be­ing painted pink and would have been worth ¤ 74 mil­lion (Rs 575 crore) had it gone through to the full term. In the end Force In­dia only re­ceived ¤ 29 mil­lion (Rs 225 crore) as it went into ad­min­is­tra­tion in July 2018.

AMP claims it in­tro­duced BWT to Force In­dia and pro­vided other as­sis­tance to clinch the deal. It main­tains Force In­dia agreed to pay a com­mis­sion of 15% of the spon­sor­ship fee up to ¤ 12.5 mil­lion and 12% there­after. The spon­sor­ship agree­ment was signed on March 13 2017 but AMP was never paid. Force In­dia’s as­sets and busi­ness were sold in Aug 2018 to Rac­ing Point and BWT cur­rently spon­sors Rac­ing Point. Mallya, who still owns a 42.5% stake in Force In­dia and was its team prin­ci­pal, gave ev­i­dence at the trial, say­ing AMP had not per­formed any ser­vices that war­ranted com­mis­sion and it was Toto Wolff, team prin­ci­pal of Mer­cedes-AMG F1 rac­ing team, who had rec­om­mended Force In­dia to BWT, not AMP.

Ot­mar Szaf­nauer, COO of Force In­dia at the time, said: “Rep­u­ta­tion­ally, spon­sors did not want to be as­so­ci­ated with the team be­cause of its con­nec­tions to Mallya. In busi­ness terms, spon­sors were wary of us be­cause of doubts over sol­vency.”

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