Cristiano Ronaldo, the world-famous football star, is facing a massive lawsuit in the US for his involvement in promoting Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. The plaintiffs accuse him of misleading them into investing in unregistered securities offered by Binance, resulting in significant losses. They are seeking damages of more than $1 billion.
According to the lawsuit, filed on November 27th in a Florida court, Ronaldo partnered with Binance in 2022 to launch his own collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the exchange. NFTs are digital assets that represent unique items such as art, music, or sports memorabilia. Ronaldo’s NFT collection, called Forever CR7, featured 29,000 tokens that showcased his career highlights and awards.
The lawsuit claims that Ronaldo used his fame and social media influence to attract millions of fans and followers to invest in Binance and its products, including its native token BNB, its stablecoin BUSD, its crypto-lending products, and its staking-as-a-service program. These products, the plaintiffs allege, were unregistered securities that should have been regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The lawsuit also alleges that Ronaldo failed to disclose the risks and conflicts of interest associated with his endorsement deal with Binance, as well as the legal troubles that the exchange was facing. Binance has been under investigation by the SEC and the Department of Justice for various violations of anti-money laundering and securities laws. Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, recently stepped down after pleading guilty to money laundering charges and agreeing to pay a $4.3 billion settlement.
The plaintiffs claim that they suffered substantial losses due to Ronaldo’s promotion of Binance and its products, as the value of BNB and other tokens plummeted after the exchange’s legal woes became public. They also claim that Binance mishandled their funds and transferred billions of dollars to a third party entity owned by Zhao, called Sigma Chain, without their consent or knowledge.