In light of the ongoing legal woes of Binance, a group of cryptocurrency investors has filed a lawsuit in a U.S. District Court in Florida against global soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo. The investors, including Mikey Vongdara, Michael Sizemore, and Gordon Lewis, allege substantial financial losses due to Ronaldo’s promotion of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
Ronaldo’s Alleged Role in Securities Offering
The plaintiffs contend that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner actively “promoted, assisted in, and/or actively participated in the offer and sale of unregistered securities in coordination with Binance.” This assertion revolves around a multi-year partnership deal signed in mid-2022, where Ronaldo agreed to promote a series of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), including three digital collectibles, in association with Binance.
The investors argue that Ronaldo’s endorsement significantly boosted Binance’s popularity, citing a staggering 500% increase in Binance-related searches during the week of Ronaldo’s NFT sales on the platform. They claim that individuals drawn to Binance for Ronaldo’s NFTs might have unknowingly invested in tokens like BNB and ADA, which the SEC deems unregistered securities.
Furthermore, the filing suggests that Ronaldo either knew or should have known about Binance offering unregistered securities. To reinforce this claim, the investors reference warnings from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to celebrities, emphasizing the need to disclose financial details for all crypto-related promotions.
Binance’s Ongoing Legal Battles
The backdrop of this legal action against Ronaldo is Binance’s existing legal woes. The United States government is currently pursuing a legal battle against the cryptocurrency exchange and its founder, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), for alleged money laundering offenses.
The defendants have pleaded guilty, agreeing to a substantial fine of $4.3 billion. This development led to CZ stepping down as Binance’s CEO, awaiting the ruling for violating U.S. law, with a potential 18-month prison sentence hanging in the balance. The ruling is scheduled for February 2024.
In light of these intricate legal entanglements, Ronaldo’s association with Binance has sparked financial losses for some investors and legal scrutiny and potential repercussions for the soccer star himself.