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Vivo India commercials featuring Virat Kohli taken from TV and social media

Virat Kohli will soon be back among the runs, believes Rashid Latif Photo courtesy: ICC

Photo: IENS

Vivo Mobiles has temporarily suspended ads featuring cricketer Virat Kohli, amid an ongoing money laundering investigation by the Enforcement Directorate against the Chinese smartphone maker. The ad has been removed from social media and television pending the completion of an investigation against the company by government agencies, the Economic Times reported.

Planned activities and promotional activities involving Virat Kohli have been suspended until it is known where the investigation is heading, an unnamed official with knowledge of the development said, according to the report.

The report further quotes another executive who said Kohli’s team was also uncomfortable with advertisements depicting the former captain of the Indian cricket team while the investigation was ongoing. “It’s also to protect Virat from criticism,” the executive said.

The report further mentions that neither Vivo nor Cornerstone Sport, the talent management team that manages Kohli’s portfolio, responded to questions until press time.

Industry insiders said pausing was “the logical option” at this time.

Vivo recently appealed to the Delhi High Court, challenging the Law Enforcement Directorate’s (DE) decision to freeze 199 bank accounts linked to the company as part of a money laundering investigation.

The ED alleged that Vivo India remitted around 50% or Rs 62,476 crore of income to China, reducing its taxable income in India. ED also seized funds of Rs 465 crore, Rs 73 lakh in cash and 2 kg of gold under the anti-money laundering law.

The central agency has also filed a money laundering complaint, learning of a recent Delhi Police FIR (economic crimes wing) against an agency distributor based in Jammu and Kashmir, alleging that some Chinese shareholders had forged identity documents to register the company.