Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has been sued for promoting the sale of unregistered securities through a partnership with Binance. The allegations come almost a year after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner promoted his new non-fungible token (NFT) collection, and shortly after FTX investors sued major sports leagues for turning a blind eye to malfeasance.
Filed in Florida, the lawsuit suggests that buyers of Ronaldo’s NFTs could have been encouraged to purchase unregistered securities through his Binance promotions. It also argues that Ronaldo should have known about unregistered securities through his own investment experience or outside advice.
Cristiano Ronaldo Allegedly Caused Binance Losses
In the exact wording of the lawsuit, Ronaldo “promoted, assisted in, and/or actively participated in the offer and sale of unregistered securities in coordination with Binance.” Plaintiffs Michael Sizemore, Mikey Vongdara, and Gordon Lewis seek damages for losses they sustained when US authorities started investigating Binance for tax evasion.
The former Manchester United star inked a deal with Binance in 2022 to promote NFTs that chronicled his career. His collections were available exclusively on the Binance NFT marketplace but were panned by some fans as desperate. Binance recently agreed to pay $4 billion in a case implicating it in terrorist financing.
In May, Ronaldo’s net worth was thought to be around $500 million, according to The Sporting News, while his contract with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr FC earns him around $220 million a year. Ronaldo also makes money through his branded clothing line, CR-7, and various accessories and endorsements.
Lionel Messi, who often vies with Ronaldo for football supremacy in public discourse, caused excitement when he signed a deal with Socios.com to promote fan tokens in 2021. His later move to Inter Miami saw him don a kit with the logo of XBTO, a crypto market maker. Messi has so far avoided legal action.
Sports Leagues Sued for FTX Involvement
The Ronaldo suit follows a battery of civil actions against entities that allegedly promoted crypto at the expense of investors. The most recent case is a lawsuit accusing major sports leagues, including Major League Baseball and Formula 1, of turning a blind eye to FTX’s business practices.
Plaintiffs allege that the leagues sought to capitalize on the public excitement around crypto. In the court filings, lawyers assert:
“MLB and many others were quick to jump into the crypto world with both feet when they saw the potential for fast money.”
Both leagues canceled their partnerships with FTX in 2022 after the exchange imploded in November. The consolidated suit is Garrison v. Major League Baseball, 23-cv-24479, US District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Miami).
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