Pro-soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has been hit with a proposed class-action lawsuit from plaintiffs claiming they suffered losses from his promotion of the now-legally embroiled crypto exchange Binance.
A Nov. 27 filing to a United States district court in Florida claimed Ronaldo was involved in promoting, aiding, and/or actively taking part in the offering and sale of securities that were not properly registered, in collaboration with Binance.
Binance entered a multiyear partnership with Ronaldo in mid-2022 to promote a series of his own nonfungible tokens (NFTs). The lawsuit says people who buy Ronaldo’s NFTs can use Binance for different things, like investing in unregistered securities and benefiting from crypto programs. Ronaldo’s influence, with 850 million social media followers, is seen as a big factor in making Binance popular.
“Ronaldo’s promotions solicited or assisted Binance in soliciting investments in unregistered securities by encouraging his millions of followers, fans, and supporters to invest with the Binance platform.”
The suit alleges Ronaldo knew or should have known “about Binance selling unregistered crypto securities,” as he has “investment experience and vast resources to obtain outside advisers.”
The suit cited U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) guidance warning celebrities of the need to disclose payments received for promoting cryptocurrencies, which the complaint claims Ronaldo didn’t do.
Meanwhile, Binance and its founder, CZ Zhao, are dealing with their legal issues, like accusations of money laundering and running an unregistered money transfer business. On November 22, CZ Zhao resigned as Binance CEO, admitting to breaking anti-money laundering rules in a Seattle court.
All of this is part of a $4 billion deal with the US Department of Justice. Binance, the biggest crypto exchange globally, agreed to admit guilt and pay $4.3 billion, settling both criminal and civil claims. This agreement is expected to end the investigation into Binance.