Pro-soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is facing a proposed class-action lawsuit from plaintiffs claiming they suffered financial losses due to Ronaldo’s involvement in promoting the crypto exchange Binance, which is currently facing legal issues.
A Nov. 27 filing to a United States district court in Florida claimed that Ronaldo aided in the promotion and sale of unregistered securities in collaboration with Binance. The exchange entered a multi-year partnership with Ronaldo last year. As per the agreement, Soccer Star promoted a series of non-fungible tokens (NFT) on the platform. Besides NFTs, Ronaldo’s promotion has encouraged users to invest in unregistered securities, including Binance’s native BNB token and its crypto yield programs, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint highlights the considerable impact of Ronaldo, who has 850 million followers on various social media platforms. Lawyers said Ronaldo’s NFT sales were extremely effective in promoting the company, leading to a 500% surge in searches for “Binance” in the week following the initial sale.
The lawsuit alleges that Cristiano Ronaldo, given his investment experience and access to outside advisors, was aware or should have been aware that the company was selling unregistered crypto securities. The suit highlighted US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) guidance warning celebrities of the need to reveal funds received from crypto companies, which the complaint claims Ronaldo didn’t do.
Gordon Lewis, Mikey Vongdara, and Michael Sizemore suied together and want compensation for their losses and legal fees.
According to the filing:
“Binance’s partnership with celebrities like Ronaldo was clearly designed to use the positive reputation associated with specific celebrities to convince consumers that Binance was a safe place to buy and sell cryptocurrency.”
Cooking something up with @Cristiano…
Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/OxqJ435bp3
— Binance (@binance) November 28, 2023
Binance’s Ongoing Legal Troubles
Concurrently, the exchange and its founder, Changpeng Zhao, are facing legal issues. They have pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $4.3 billion settlement to the US government for violations of Anti-Money Laundering laws and operating an unregistered business.
As part of the agreement, Zhao stepped down as CEO and could face up to 18 months in prison. Moreover, the company has agreed to up to five years of compliance monitoring by the US Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury.