Maria Sharapova lands in police probe in India over housing improvement fraud

NEW DELHI — Maria Sharapova is being investigated by police in India in a dishonest and felony conspiracy case involving an actual property firm who used the tennis star to endorse a luxurious housing venture that by no means took off.

Actual property agency Homestead Infrastructure is accused of taking thousands and thousands of {dollars} from house consumers for a venture named “Ballet by Maria Sharapova,” a luxurious condominium complicated with its personal helipad, tennis academy and different facilities. The five-time Grand Slam champion travelled to India in 2013 to launch the venture at a glitzy ceremony. Police started the investigation on Nov. 16.

Piyush Singh, a lawyer representing one of many house consumers, stated Wednesday that Sharapova’s celeb was the rationale most individuals put their cash into the venture.

Singh stated his consumer, Bhawana Agarwal, paid Homestead Infrastructure 5.three million rupees (US$81,678) in 2013 as a result of she was impressed by Sharapova’s affiliation with the venture situated in Gurgaon, a suburb of the Indian capital. The price of an condominium within the swanky venture was 20 million rupees ($308,000).

Agarwal then spent the following three years chasing the builders for updates on the property and her funding in it however they stopped taking her calls, Singh stated. On Wednesday, a number of calls to the numbers of the constructing firm’s web site went unanswered.

“The venture by no means noticed the sunshine of day,” Singh stated.

Singh stated the police investigation based mostly on his consumer’s criticism was testing comparatively new authorized floor — that celebrities endorsing tasks that draw huge sums of cash from traders had a accountability “to do some due diligence” on the venture earlier than lending their title and credibility to it.

Sharapova isn’t the one worldwide sports activities celeb that the actual property agency roped in. Its web site additionally advertises a venture with Method One nice Michael Schumacher referred to as the Michael Schumacher World Tower.

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