Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has been hit with a $1 billion class action lawsuit for promoting the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.
According to a document filed at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida Miami Division, the plaintiffs accuse Ronaldo of promoting, assisting, and participating in the offer and sale of unregistered securities in collaboration with Binance.
Ronaldo Sued For Promoting Binance
Ronaldo entered a multi-year partnership with Binance in June 2022 to introduce Web3 and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to his multi-million fanbase. Since then, the duo has launched three NFT collections, unveiling the latest, The CR7 ForeverZone, in October.
The plaintiffs, Michael Sizemore, Mikey Vongdara, and Gordon Lewis, claimed users who were lured to Binance with Ronaldo’s NFTs likely used the crypto exchange for other activities like investing in the unregistered securities, including Binance Coin (BNB) and yield programs offered on the platform.
According to the plaintiffs, influencers like Ronaldo played a huge role in Binance’s rise by hyping the securities in exchange for multimillion-dollar payouts. Through his solicitation of investments on behalf of Binance, the exchange recorded an increase in influence. They alleged that the soccer star’s NFT sales were successful and, afterward, resulted in a 500% rise in searches for Binance.
“Evidence now reveals that Binance’s fraud was only able to reach such heights through the offer and sale of unregistered securities, with the willing help and assistance of some of the wealthiest, powerful, and recognized organizations and celebrities across the globe—just like Defendant Ronaldo,” the plaintiffs stated.
Binance’s Legal Woes
Furthermore, Sizemore and his co-plaintiffs cited recent legal cases initiated by regulators against Binance to substantiate their claims that the crypto exchange violated U.S. trading laws by offering unregistered securities. They mentioned the March lawsuit brought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the June case filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The complaint also mentioned the SEC’s warning to celebrities about the need to disclose how much they are paid to promote investment in securities, arguing that Ronaldo failed to heed the guidance.
The plaintiffs seek compensatory damages, restitution, and disgorgement of revenues, legal fees, and statutory damages.
The lawsuit comes shortly after Binance and its founder, Changpeng Zhao, pleaded guilty to charges of anti-money laundering law violations brought by the U.S. Department of Justice with a $4.3 billion settlement.