Sharapova targeted in Indian house fraud

NEW DELHI • Former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova is under investigation by Indian police for cheating and criminal conspiracy after the collapse of a luxury housing project that she endorsed, a lawyer said yesterday.

The firm behind the development is alleged to have taken millions from homebuyers before the project folded.

Piyush Singh, a lawyer representing one of the buyers, said police had filed initial charges against Sharapova, 30, as part of a wider case against the firm Homestead Infrastructure Development.

The five-time Grand Slam champion travelled to India in 2012 to launch the complex, named Ballet by Sharapova, which prospective buyers were told would house a tennis academy as well as a clubhouse and a helipad.

The project in Gurgaon - a satellite city of the capital New Delhi - was supposed to be ready last year but, Singh said, construction work was abandoned after builders were paid.

Police were not immediately available for comment on the case, which is being heard in a Delhi court. Calls to the developers also went unanswered.

Sharapova, who returned to the game from a 15-month dope ban in April, has not commented.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2017, with the headline 'Sharapova targeted in Indian house fraud'. Print Edition | Subscribe