Maria Sharapova Under Probe in Fraudulent Luxury Housing Case
Maria Sharapova faces investigation for endorsing a luxury apartment project in Gurgaon that never took off.
Jut when things were seeming to fall in place for the five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova, she has been booked by the police in a case pertaining to cheating and criminal conspiracy involving a luxury apartment project in the Delhi region that never took off.
The tennis star has been charged with publicly endorsing a residential housing project in Gurugram that duped many prospective buyers, as the construction never started.
Piyush Singh, a lawyer representing one the buyers, said that the player is under the scanner for a wider investigation against the firms: Homestead Infrastructure Development, Homestead Infrastructure Maintenance and Homestead Arabic Homes companies for cheating and criminal conspiracy. “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,” he said, according to AFP.
Over 1,500 people had invested in the “Ballet by Sharapova” housing project, says a report by Sputnik International. The project was scheduled to be ready by 2016, but work was abandoned soon after the builders got the money from prospective buyers. The police began investigations on Nov. 16 and the case is being heard in a Delhi court.
Homestead Infrastructure Development allegedly took millions of dollars from homebuyers for the project. Sharapova came to India in 2012 for the launch of the apartment complex. The website of the company quotes the 30-year-old Russian player as saying that her goal was to make the owners feel like they own something special and different. The homebuyers were promised that the housing complex will have a tennis academy, a clubhouse and a helipad. Sharapova was also featured in the advertising brochures. The real estate firm’s website also boasts of a project called the Michael Schumacher World Tower with Formula One star Michael Schumacher.
There have been no comments from Sharapova and the builders regarding the case.
Sharapova made almost $30 million in 2015, with $23 million of that coming from endorsements, according to a Forbes report.