Cristiano Ronaldo Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Tied to Binance Promotion

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Pro-soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is confronted with a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging his involvement in promoting the legally troubled crypto exchange Binance. Filed on Nov. 27 in a U.S. district court in Florida, the lawsuit claims Ronaldo actively participated in the sale of unregistered securities in coordination with Binance.

The legal action stems from Binance’s multiyear partnership with Ronaldo in mid-2022, where he promoted his nonfungible tokens (NFTs), with several collections linked to the exchange. The complaint suggests users who engaged with Ronaldo’s NFTs were more likely to invest in what it deems unregistered securities, including Binance’s BNB and crypto yield programs.

Ronaldo’s substantial influence, with 850 million social media followers, played a pivotal role in Binance’s popularity, as the lawsuit alleges. His NFT sales are claimed to have resulted in a 500% increase in searches for Binance in the week following the initial sale.

The lawsuit contends that Ronaldo, with his investment experience and vast resources, knew or should have known about Binance selling unregistered crypto securities. It references U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission guidance regarding celebrity endorsements of cryptocurrencies, accusing Ronaldo of failing to disclose payments received for promoting Binance.

Plaintiffs Michael Sizemore, Mikey Vongdara, and Gordon Lewis are seeking damages and legal fees in the proposed class-action lawsuit. Meanwhile, Binance and its founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao are grappling with their legal challenges, including a $4.3 billion settlement with the U.S. government for Anti-Money Laundering law violations.

Zhao has stepped down as CEO and faces potential prison time. Binance has agreed to up to five years of compliance monitoring, and the SEC has filed its lawsuit, alleging the sale of unregistered securities and investigating potential misappropriation of customer funds.