(CTN News) – In a surprising turn of events, global soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo has found himself entangled in a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in a United States district court in Florida.
The lawsuit alleges that Cristiano Ronaldo played a significant role in promoting the embroiled cryptocurrency exchange Binance, which is currently facing legal challenges related to the sale of unregistered securities.
The filing, dated November 27, claims that Ronaldo actively participated in the offer and sale of unregistered securities in coordination with Binance.
This accusation stems from a multiyear partnership entered into between Binance and Cristiano Ronaldo in mid-2022, focusing on the promotion of the soccer star’s nonfungible tokens (NFTs). At least three of Ronaldo’s NFT collections were directly linked to Binance.
The complaint contends that users who signed up for Ronaldo’s NFTs were more likely to engage in other activities on the Binance platform, such as investing in what the plaintiffs assert are unregistered securities, including Binance’s native token BNB and its crypto yield programs.
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) November 28, 2023
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Impact on Binance:
The lawsuit highlights Ronaldo’s immense influence and reach, with a staggering 850 million followers across social media.
It alleges that Ronaldo’s NFT sales were instrumental in promoting Binance, causing a significant uptick in searches for the exchange, with a reported 500% increase in the week following the initial sale.
Furthermore, the complaint argues that Cristiano Ronaldo, given his investment experience and abundant resources, should have been aware of Binance’s alleged involvement in selling unregistered crypto securities.
The plaintiffs claim that Ronaldo failed to disclose payments received for promoting cryptocurrencies, violating guidance provided by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The class-action lawsuit has been brought forth by three plaintiffs—Michael Sizemore, Mikey Vongdara, and Gordon Lewis—who are seeking damages and funds to cover legal fees.
This development comes amid Binance and its founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao facing their own set of legal challenges.
Binance recently pleaded guilty to Anti-Money Laundering law violations and running an unregistered money-transmitting business, resulting in a $4.3 billion settlement with the U.S. government.
Zhao has stepped down as CEO and faces potential imprisonment for up to 18 months, while Binance has agreed to up to five years of compliance monitoring by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury.
The SEC has also sued Binance, accusing it of selling unregistered securities and reportedly investigating potential misappropriation of customer funds.
As the legal battle unfolds, the class-action lawsuit against Cristiano Ronaldo adds a new dimension to the challenges faced by Binance.
With both the soccer star and the cryptocurrency exchange in the spotlight, the crypto industry is once again grappling with the intersection of celebrity endorsements, regulatory compliance, and the complexities of digital asset trading.
The outcome of this legal saga could have far-reaching implications for the future of celebrity endorsements within the crypto space.