Cristiano Ronaldo, the world-renowned soccer player, is facing a $1 billion class-action lawsuit for his promotion of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. The lawsuit was filed in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida by Michael Sizemore, a California resident who allegedly purchased unregistered securities from Binance after being exposed to some or all of Ronaldo’s misrepresentations and omissions regarding the Binance platforms. The lawsuit claims that Ronaldo “promoted, assisted in, and/or actively participated in the offer and sale of unregistered securities in coordination with Binance.”
The legal filing alleges that 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 suit cites prior SEC warnings that virtual tokens may be securities, and that celebrities must disclose when they are getting paid to promote securities.
Ronaldo partnered with Binance in 2022 to create a non-fungible token (NFT) collection featuring animated figures depicting moments from his career. The suit alleges that Ronaldo received a substantial compensation package, likely including compensation in the form of digital assets transmitted through the Binance platforms, in exchange for his services.
If successful, the lawsuit could add to a growing list of legal matters at Binance. In June, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Binance and founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao on allegations of violating federal securities laws. Last week, Binance agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle charges brought by U.S. prosecutors related to alleged violations of breaking sanctions and money-transmitting laws.