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Business News/ News / World/  Cristiano Ronaldo sued in US for promoting Binance NFT: Report
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Cristiano Ronaldo sued in US for promoting Binance NFT: Report

Binance’s partnership with celebrities like Ronaldo was clearly designed to use the positive reputation associated with specific celebrities to convince consumers that Binance was a safe place to buy and sell cryptocurrency, said the filing

Nassr's Portuguese forward #07 Cristiano Ronaldo (AFP)Premium
Nassr's Portuguese forward #07 Cristiano Ronaldo (AFP)

Football star Cristiano Ronaldo is facing a class-action lawsuit. According to the reports the plaintiffs, Michael Sizemore, Mikey Vongdara, and Gordon Lewis and claimed that they suffered losses because Cristiano Ronaldo promoted the exchange.

The lawsuit filing stated,"Plaintiffs file this Complaint on behalf of themselves, and all other similarly situated consumers who purchased unregistered securities offered or sold by Binance, 1 against Defendant, Cristiano Ronaldo, who promoted, assisted in, and/or actively participated in the offer and sale of unregistered securities in coordination with Binance.

It further added,"Binance’s partnership with celebrities like Ronaldo was clearly designed to use the positive reputation associated with specific celebrities to convince consumers that Binance was a safe place to buy and sell cryptocurrency."

In or around mid-2022, Cristiano Ronaldo entered into a multi-year partnership with Binance in which Ronaldo would provide Binance with spokesperson and marketing services. Those services included posting on social media, promoting his Binance exclusive NFT collection (Ronaldo’s first ever NFT collection)24, and appearing in commercial advertising, among other activities.

Binance boss Changpeng Zhao has become the most powerful cryptocurrency figure to fall in a two-year period chaotic even by the standards of the notoriously volatile industry.

Zhao stepped down as CEO of Binance -- the largest crypto exchange in the world -- after he and the company pleaded guilty on Tuesday to sweeping US money laundering violations and agreed to fines of more than $4 billion.

Here are two of the highest-profile crypto executives who have fallen foul of the law since last year:

- Changpeng 'CZ' Zhao -

Born in China in 1977, Zhao moved with his family to Canada in the 1980s and later got a degree in computer science from McGill University, according to his profile in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

He founded Binance in 2017 in Shanghai, and led the company's explosive growth into the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange.

An outspoken celebrity in the crypto world with 8.7 million followers on X, Zhao became the richest known figure in the nascent industry. His net worth peaked at around $65 billion in 2022, according to a Forbes index.

With the prestige and wealth came increased scrutiny of Binance's operations, as prominent crypto firms around the world began to buckle under a wave of criminal investigations.

The United States accused Zhao and Binance of multiple violations, including knowingly allowing transactions to militant groups such as the Islamic State and in barred jurisdictions such as North Korea and Iran.

On Tuesday, they pleaded guilty. The firm has agreed to total penalties of nearly $4.4 billion, while he will pay $50 million, according to court documents.

Zhao resigned as CEO of Binance and while he will reportedly retain his shares in the company, he has been banned from any involvement in its business. He is expected to face sentencing later.

Forbes listed his net worth as $10.2 billion as of Wednesday.

- Sam Bankman-Fried -

If Zhao was the richest and most powerful person in crypto, Sam Bankman-Fried was easily the most famous.

Born to Stanford University professors, Bankman-Fried graduated from MIT with a degree in physics.

In 2019, he founded FTX, which skyrocketed to become the world's second-largest crypto exchange.

Along the way, Bankman-Fried built up his image as the unofficial ambassador for the cryptocurrency industry, with high-profile appearances in the media and even the US Congress.

At one point in 2022, he had a net worth of $24 billion, according to Forbes.

But he had been walking a dangerous path -- his team used customers' money for everything from buying posh real estate to covering risky moves by affiliate Alameda Research.

It all came crashing down when these moves were revealed in the media in November 2022. Within hours, rival CZ Zhao said Binance would sell all the FTX tokens it held.

It sparked a stunning collapse of FTX and Bankman-Fried's empire, his fame turning to notoriety.

Arrested in the Bahamas in January, he was found guilty this month of what US prosecutors described as "one of the biggest financial frauds in American history". He faces up to 110 years in prison.

During his trial, the 31-year-old admitted to making "mistakes" but denied trying to defraud anyone.

 

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Published: 29 Nov 2023, 03:28 PM IST
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