Cristiano Ronaldo is facing a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging he promoted the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, which has since faced legal troubles in the United States.
Filed on November 27 with a U.S. District Court in Florida, the lawsuit claims Ronaldo “promoted, assisted in, and/or actively participated in the offer and sale of unregistered securities in coordination with Binance.”
The plaintiffs, Michael Sizemore, Mikey Vongdara, and Gordon Lewis, say they suffered losses from Ronaldo’s promotion of Binance and are seeking legal fees and damages.
Binance and Ronaldo teamed up in June 2022
Binance entered a multiyear partnership with Ronaldo in mid-2022 to promote a series of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) featuring the footballer. The complaint alleges that users who signed up for these NFTs were then more likely to use Binance for other purposes, such as investing in what they claim were unregistered securities.
These allegedly included Binance’s own BNB token and crypto yield programs offered on the platform.
“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 complaint states.
With 850 million followers across social media, Ronaldo gave Binance vast exposure and credibility, the suit alleges. Additionally, it claims searches for Binance spiked 500% after Ronaldo’s initial NFT drop, indicating his importance to the platform’s growth.
Lawsuit Questions Ronaldo’s Due Diligence
The plaintiffs argue the soccer star knew or should have known about Binance allegedly selling unregistered securities, given his “investment experience and vast resources to obtain outside advisers.”
The suit points to SEC guidance warning celebrities they must disclose payments for crypto promotions—something Ronaldo allegedly failed to do regarding his Binance partnership.
Meanwhile, the exchange and its founder, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, continue facing their own legal troubles. In addition, they recently pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle U.S. government allegations of anti-money laundering violations and operating an unlicensed money transmitter business.