PNB fraud: After Niravgate, Virat Kohli unlikely to renew contract with Punjab National Bank


PNB fraud: After Niravgate, Virat Kohli unlikely to renew contract with Punjab National Bank

NEW DELHI: India cricket captain Virat Kohli isn’t likely to renew his endorsement contract with state-owned Punjab National Bank, which has been rocked by a Rs 12,600-crore fraud, but the star’s agency said it wouldn’t be terminated before the term ends later this year.

“There is no dialogue to extend the contract so as of now, no, we are not in talks to extend the contract,” Bunty Sajdeh, CEO of Cornerstone Sport & Entertainment, the talent management company representing Kohli, said in an email. “It is our understanding that there is no conclusive or even enough reason to blame PNB as a bank on the whole for the unfortunate turn of events. In any case, Virat’s contract with the bank concludes later this year. So, as things stand, we are not disassociating ourselves.”

PNB has alleged that some of its officials along with jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi and their companies were behind the fraud.

The bank had earlier denied media reports that the cricketer, the country’s highest paid sportsperson, would stop the endorsement. “The same is totally false and incorrect. Virat Kohli is our brand ambassador,” it said in a release.

PNB signed Kohli as its brand ambassador in September 2016 as the lender sought to burnish its image that had been tarnished by rising bad loans. At the time, Kohli had stated that PNB was “mera apna bank” (my own bank), adding that he had held an account with bank since he was 16.

Kohli ended a six-year endorsement deal with cola maker PepsiCo in 2017 as he only wanted to promote products he would consume personally and not those that went against his fitness ideals.

He is the face of 17 brands, including Audi luxury cars, MRF Tyres, Tissot watches, Gionee phones, Puma sportswear, Boost health drinks and oral care brand Colgate, among others.

Kohli, 29, has invested in a chain of gyms under the brand Chisel, tech startup Sports Convo, apparel line Wrogn, and has his own One8 brand of casualwear, footwear and accessories along with Puma.


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