Maria Sharapova named in Housing Estate Fraud Probe in India
Maria Sharapova can’t keep her name off the limelight. Fifteen months after Sharapova was banned from the tennis court due to a doping charge, she returned to her earlier life of a champion player. However, this time she has made it to the headlines for being under probe by Delhi Police for cheating and criminal conspiracy for a luxury housing project that she lends her name to.
The firm, Homestead Infrastructure, is accused of fraud, they have taken tens of millions of rupees of home buyers for a project named “Ballet by Maria Sharapova,” a luxury apartment complex. The tennis star was the front face of their business and endorse the luxury housing project that never took off.
The five-time Grand Slam champion promoted the brand in India in 2013, launching the project at a glitzy ceremony.
“We have registered a case of cheating on directions from the court,” local police officer Arvind Sharma told AFP. Police started the investigation on November 16.
The website of the project quotes Sharapova saying, “my goal was to make the owners feel like they own something special and different”.
“Any celebrity who endorses any product technically becomes an agent for that company. No one would have invested in the project if Sharapova’s name was not there,” said Piyush Singh, a lawyer representing one of the buyers. Piyush Singh, is representing Bhawana Agarwal, who paid Homestead Infrastructure 5.3 million rupees in 2013 and then spent the next three years chasing the builders for updates on the property with no results.
According to the reports, the project should have been ready in 2016 in Gurgaon, but the construction never took off after builders collected millions from homebuyers.
Reportedly, Sharapova had made almost $30 million in 2015, according to Forbes. $23 million of that came from endorsements like the project in Gurgaon.
Feature Image Credit: The Indian Express
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