Plaintiffs seek to serve Cristiano Ronaldo in Binance lawsuit

abdelaziz Fathi

Plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit against soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo for his promotion of Binance are exploring alternative methods to serve legal papers to the elusive athlete. Faced with difficulties in traditional service methods, the plaintiffs filed a motion proposing to use modern communication channels.

The plaintiffs’ motion seeks permission to serve Ronaldo via email, the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), and through a dedicated website created specifically for the case materials. This approach is suggested as a viable solution given the uncertainty surrounding Ronaldo’s current address in Saudi Arabia.

The lawsuit also points out Ronaldo’s massive social media influence, with 850 million followers, as a factor in Binance’s increased popularity and the success of his NFT sales.

The motion argues that these alternate methods of service comply with international legal standards, particularly in cases where the defendant’s address is unknown. It aligns with the provisions of the Hague Conventions, which do not explicitly prohibit such methods of service. The plaintiffs intend to send the legal documents to Ronaldo’s verified Twitter accounts and the email addresses of his domestic counsel who are currently involved in ongoing U.S. federal litigation.

The class-action lawsuit stems from claims that Ronaldo’s promotion of Binance led to financial losses for the exchange’s clients. Filed in a Florida district court in November, the lawsuit accuses Ronaldo of promoting, assisting, and/or actively participating in the offer and sale of unregistered securities in coordination with Binance.

The plaintiffs allege that Ronaldo’s endorsement led them to make investments that resulted in significant losses. They are seeking damages exceeding $1 billion.

In November 2022, Binance launched its first “CR7” collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in collaboration with Ronaldo. NFTs are digital assets representing ownership of a unique item or content, existing solely in the crypto realm. Ronaldo’s “CR7” brand, synonymous with his initials and shirt number, spans various products, including this NFT collection.

In promoting the NFTs, Ronaldo stated the goal was to elevate the NFT game and bring football to the next level. However, the value of these NFTs plummeted dramatically within a year, with the cheapest in the collection dropping from an initial price of $77 to around $1.

The lawsuit alleges that Ronaldo’s promotion caused a 500% increase in searches for Binance, leading people to invest in what the claimants refer to as “unregistered securities,” such as Binance’s BNB cryptocurrency. Under U.S. law, as stated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), certain digital assets can be classified as securities. Consequently, endorsements of these assets by celebrities require clear disclosure of the compensation received, which the plaintiffs claim Ronaldo failed to do.

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