Shaq, Naomi Osaka, Steph Curry named as defendants in class-action suit against embattled crypto company FTX

The lawsuit refers to FTX as a "fraudulent scheme" that was "designed to take advantage of unsophisticated investors from across the country."

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A class-action cryptocurrency lawsuit has listed Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, tennis player Naomi Osaka, former NBA mainstay Shaquille O’Neal, and several other celebrities as defendants for allegedly endorsing a “fraudulent scheme.”

According to Yahoo Sports, the lawsuit filed in Florida on Tuesday was against Sam Bankman-Fried, the creator of the now-defunct cryptocurrency trading platform FTX. 

On Nov. 11, Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO of FTX as the company filed for bankruptcy. He shared a series of tweets a day before officially reporting FTX’s default, including an apology in which he described himself as “Not a good dev” and admitted that he “F***ed up, and should have done better.”

FTX lawsuit
From left: Naomi Osaka, Stephen Curry and Shaquille O’Neal are among several celebrities who have been named in a lawsuit against embattled cryptocurrency platform FTX. (Photos: Getty Images, Chris Graythen/Getty Images and Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year 2019)

The lawsuit refers to FTX as a “fraudulent scheme” that was “designed to take advantage of unsophisticated investors from across the country, who utilize mobile apps to make their investments,” Yahoo reported.

Bankman-Fried and the celebrities are accused of advertising and urging others to participate in it. Comedian Larry David, former baseball player David Ortiz, and current MLB star Shohei Ohtani, NFL quarterback Trevor Lawrence, NBA notable Udonis Haslem, Kevin O’Leary of “Shark Tank,” plus NFL icon Tom Brady and his former wife, model Gisele Bündchen, are also named.

Each of the celebrities took part in an ad for FTX to support the company.

The commercial with David aired during Super Bowl LVI. Brady and Bündchen collaborated on an advertisement in which they served as brand recruiters.

The New York Times reported that the crypto sector spent billions of dollars on sports marketing and was shaken by FTX’s failure.

Bankman-Fried, an entrepreneur, philanthropist and political donor, founded the platform in 2019. Since then, it has secured several prominent sports agreements.

As part of a $135 million 19-year agreement with Miami-Dade County, Florida, and the Miami Heat, FTX purchased the naming rights for the Heat’s arena last year. It has spent the past couple of years securing agreements that involve non-fungible tokens.

Natalia Jaramillo, a spokesperson for Miami-Dade County’s mayor’s office, called the FTX-Miami arrangement “an evolving situation.”

“Should FTX be unable to meet their financial obligations under the naming rights deal,” she told The Times, “the county will explore all legal remedies.”

The class-action lawsuit requests $11 billion in damages.

Marty Conway, an adjunct professor of sports management at Georgetown University, said organizations and teams that have partnerships with FTX might attempt to recoup money through legal action and search for a new sponsor.

According to Yahoo, it will take some time to ascertain whether FTX owes consumers $11 billion or a different amount. It’s also unknown how much, if any, the celebrities named in the lawsuit will pay in damages to the public. 

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