Football icon Cristiano Ronaldo is facing a potential class-action lawsuit following allegations that his endorsement of Binance, a leading cryptocurrency exchange, led to significant investor losses. Filed in a Florida District Court on Nov. 27, 2023, by plaintiffs Michael Sizemore, Mikey Vongdara, and Gordon Lewis, the lawsuit claims Ronaldo’s association with Binance resulted in financial losses for investors.
Ronaldo’s collaboration with Binance, initiated in 2022 to promote his non-fungible tokens (NFTs), forms the crux of the legal action. The complaint alleges that Ronaldo’s promotion of these tokens inadvertently encouraged users to engage with Binance for investment purposes, including purchasing unregistered securities like the BNB token and the exchange’s yield programs.
The lawsuit contends that Ronaldo’s vast social media influence, with over 850 million followers across various platforms, significantly bolstered Binance’s visibility and attracted unsuspecting individuals to the platform. This surge in engagement, especially after Ronaldo’s initial NFT sale, purportedly led to a substantial 500% increase in online searches for “Binance.”
Accusations against Ronaldo assert that as a prominent figure in the financial realm, he should have been aware of Binance’s alleged involvement in selling unregistered securities. The plaintiffs argue that Ronaldo’s stature and purported investment knowledge could have alerted him to the potential legal issues surrounding Binance’s operations.
This legal action emerges amidst ongoing challenges faced by Binance and its founder, Changpeng Zhao (CZ). The exchange has been under scrutiny for violating money laundering regulations and operating without proper licensing, resulting in substantial financial penalties. CZ, in response, resigned from his CEO position and is currently facing potential legal repercussions, including an 18-month prison sentence.
The lawsuit seeks compensation for losses incurred by investors who engaged with Binance following Ronaldo’s promotional activities. It highlights concerns over the platform’s compliance with anti-money laundering measures and its alleged sale of unregistered securities, aiming to hold both Ronaldo and Binance accountable for their roles in the purported financial losses experienced by investors.
This legal action against Cristiano Ronaldo poses significant implications for celebrities endorsing financial products, emphasising the need for thorough due diligence and responsibility. As the case progresses, it could set a precedent for the liability of influential figures in endorsing platforms dealing with cryptocurrencies and other financial instruments.
This case is similar to the on-going JPEX lawsuit, which also involved allegations of misleading endorsements by celebrities.