Legal ramifications from cryptocurrency endorsements has hit another A-list athlete. Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is facing a $1 billion class-action lawsuit stemming from his involvement with embattled exchange Binance.
The federal suit filed in the Southern District of Florida alleges that Ronaldo’s promotion was “deceptive and unlawful,” and that his association with Binance led plaintiffs into unsafe investments.
“Evidence now reveals that Binance’s fraud was only able to reach such heights through the offer and sale of unregistered securities, with the willing help and assistance of some of the wealthiest, powerful, and recognized organizations and celebrities across the globe — just like Defendant Ronaldo,” the suit reads in part.
Binance is already facing $4.3 billion in federal penalties after CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty to money-laundering violations and resigned from the company.
The lawsuit arrives as a collection of Ronaldo non-fungible tokens has lost much of its original value, as have many other crypto-related assets. Still, Ronaldo remains one of the world’s most recognizable and highly paid athletes, bringing in $200 million per year from Saudi Arabian team Al Nassr.
Neither Ronaldo nor Binance has commented on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is merely the latest in a series stemming from athlete support of crypto assets. Among those who have been entangled in similar disputes: Tom Brady, Shaquille O’Neal, Trevor Lawrence, and Stephen Curry.
The recent conviction of FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has especially raised the pressure on those involved in that company, including Brady and O’Neal, and likely strengthens the plaintiff’s case in a separate class-action lawsuit.