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Cristiano Ronaldo Facing Billion-Dollar Lawsuit Over Promotion of Binance NFTs

Portuguese football icon Cristiano Ronaldo is being sued for at least $1 billion for his involvement in promoting cryptocurrency-based “non-fungible tokens” (NFTs) issued by troubled crypto exchange Binance.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, alleges that Ronaldo’s promotion of Binance was “deceptive and unlawful.” The plaintiffs claim that Binance’s collaboration with high-profile individuals like Ronaldo led to costly and risky investments.

The lawsuit states, “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.”

Ronaldo’s representatives declined to comment on the matter. Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, did not immediately respond to requests for a statement from The Associated Press.

Back in November of last year, Ronaldo launched his first NFT collection named “CR7” in collaboration with Binance, ahead of the 2022 World Cup. The NFTs, priced between approximately $77 and $10,000, featured seven animated statues portraying iconic moments from Ronaldo’s life, including bicycle-kick goals and his childhood in Portugal.

According to the lawsuit filed on Monday, Ronaldo’s promotion of the Binance partnership was highly successful, resulting in a 500% increase in online searches using the keyword “Binance” after the launch of his NFTs. The premium-level NFTs from the collection reportedly sold out within the first week.

Furthermore, the suit alleges that Ronaldo should have disclosed the amount he was compensated for the partnership with Binance. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has previously emphasized that federal law requires celebrities to publicly disclose their earnings from promoting securities, including crypto assets.

NFTs are essentially digital images with an attached version number that have been added to a cryptocurrency blockchain, aimed at making them “unique” collectibles. While NFTs experienced a brief surge in popularity, their value has largely plummeted amidst scandals and market downturns in the crypto industry.

This legal action comes after Binance was accused over the summer of operating as an unregistered securities exchange and violating various U.S. securities laws in a lawsuit brought by regulators. Last week, the crypto exchange agreed to a roughly $4 billion settlement, and its CEO Changpeng Zhao stepped down and pleaded guilty to a felony related to failure to prevent money laundering on the platform.

This lawsuit against Ronaldo mirrors similar cases involving celebrities and crypto promotions. Last year, Hollywood and sports personalities, including Larry David and Tom Brady, were named as defendants in a class-action suit against FTX, the second-largest crypto exchange before its collapse in November 2022. The lawsuit argued that the celebrities’ status made them accountable for endorsing FTX’s failed business model.

Ronaldo, known as one of the most renowned and prosperous athletes globally, has represented Portugal’s national team and has played for top clubs such as Real Madrid, Juventus, and Manchester United. He is currently part of the Saudi Arabian professional team Al Nassr.

Ronaldo continues to promote Binance on his official website and social media platforms. Most recently, on X (formerly known as Twitter), Ronaldo reposted a Binance video and mentioned that he was “Cooking something up” with the crypto exchange on Tuesday.



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