Emin Gün Sirer, the CEO and co-founder of Ava Labs, won a multi-million dollar crypto defamation lawsuit after being falsely accused of affiliation with a Turkish terrorist group by an influencer.
Back in June 2021, Sirer filed a lawsuit against Emre Aksoy, alleging that he had uploaded a video on his YouTube channel containing false claims that Sirer, who is a Turkish citizen, was affiliated with a political organization designated as a terrorist group in Turkey.
Millions in lost business opportunities
According to a recent order from U.S. district judge Beth Bloom, Aksoy is responsible for causing reputational harm to Ava Labs Inc. founder and CEO Emin Gün Sirer, and as a result, Sirer is entitled to receive $750,000 in general damages.
In the lawsuit filed by Sirer, Aksoy, a well-known crypto influencer, publicly accused Sirer of being affiliated with the Fethullah terrorist organization, which is designated as an Islamist group by the Turkish government.
Sirer alleges that in February 2021, Aksoy identified Sirer as a member of FETO to his hundreds of thousands of YouTube and Telegram followers and urged them to “short $AVAX,” the cryptocurrency created by Sirer.
The allegations, according to Sirer, caused him to lose millions of dollars and numerous business opportunities.
On Friday, judge Beth Bloom agreed that Emin Gün Sirer, co-founder and CEO of Ava Labs Inc., is entitled not only to general damages but also to compensation for his “mental anguish.”
“Defendant knowingly and deliberately spread the defamatory and dangerous falsehood that the plaintiff was a member of a terrorist organization as part of his campaign to promote a competing blockchain token…Those falsehoods placed plaintiff and his family at an increased risk of surveillance, arrest, and indefinite detainment when he was visiting Turkey. In fact, these statements significantly harmed plaintiff’s personal reputation.”
U.S. district judge Beth Bloom.
According to the judge, Sirer “experienced anxiety and fear during his frequent trips to Turkey” due to his concern that he would be detained upon entry as a result of Aksoy’s allegations.
Additional awards in general damages
In addition to general damages, judge Bloom also awarded Sirer $300,000 for special damages to account for his increased security costs following Aksoy’s defamatory statements and an additional $2 million in punitive damages to “deter the kind of malicious behavior perpetrated by the defendant.”