Maria Sharapova could face up to seven years in prison in India, according to reports.
The tennis pro has recently come under fire for her part in a home-buying scheme in India which was ruled to be ‘cheating and criminal’.
The charges, if brought successfully, could see the Russian tennis star facing a seven-year prison sentence and a fine under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code.
The charges were brought because Sharapova put her name to a luxury housing project, which was publicised and scheduled to be completed in 2016. The project never took off, according to the Times of India.
A police official said:
The tennis star has now been booked for cheating and criminal conspiracy by Delhi Police, following a local court’s order. An aggrieved homebuyer had approached the court.
The developers of the project have also been booked under similar charges. However, no one has been arrested in the case yet.
A homebuyer came forward with her complaint, in which she alleges she was ‘lured’ by developers of the residential project, which was called ‘Ballet by Sharapova’.
She told the court:
Sharapova not only aggressively promoted the fraudulent activities of the accused, but also supported the project in the eyes of the general public and is, therefore, a part of this criminal conspiracy.
If the charges go through, Sharapova could face up to seven years in prison and a fine for attaching her name to the project and promoting it so heavily.
In 2013, Sharapova even went to India to promote the project, alongside developers based in Gurgaon.
The charges have been brought against Homestead Infrastructure Development, Homestead Infrastructure Maintenance, Homestead Arabic Homes, the company directors and Sharapova herself.
The controversial tennis pro doesn’t seem to be too bothered by this on social media, and her fans only seem interested in her dramatic change of image after she posted an image online of her looking like a goth.
The former world number one and top model, known for her prowess on the court as well as her grace on the catwalk, has uploaded a picture looking completely different from her usual blonde self.
Sharapova, who recently returned to tennis after a ban for drugs consumption, can be seen rocking black hair, fishnets and Dr Marten boots.
She posted the images to her 2.9 million fans on Instagram.
Fans were shocked at her new look, but were reassured to find out the new look was only a temporary change for a themed dinner party and murder mystery game.
Halloween might be over but Murder Mystery dinners just began…
My alter character not leaving anytime soon. #MurderMystery #WhoDidIt.
Fans were impressed with Sharapova’s new style, and some even compared her to Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books and films.
Netizen ‘sashafreyart’ said: ‘Gothic Masha! So beautiful!’ While ‘kybo2831’ added: ‘It’s crazy just how much that suits you.’
Sharapova is a five-time Grand Slam winner, and made a successful comeback this April after a 15-month suspension for a drug violation.
She made an incredible return, winning the Tianjin Open as a wild card.
Originally, her ban was implemented at two years but the term was brought down to 15 months after a successful appeal, during which it came out she had taken the banned substance, meldonium, on doctor’s advice.
The next date of the hearing in India is to take place on November 23.