A class action lawsuit against celebrities accused of promoting the now-bankrupt FTX exchange has gained the cooperation of former FTX and FTX U.S. compliance chief Daniel Friedberg.
In a proposed amended complaint filed on May 11, class action lawyers revealed that Friedberg provided evidence that promotional activity for FTX originated from Florida. This could challenge a critical defense made by some defendants who argued that the Miami court had no jurisdiction and that the claims had no association with Florida.
The lawsuit was first filed in mid-November, shortly after the collapse of the exchange. Other alleged celebrity promoters include Gisele Bündchen, Kevin O’Leary, Steph Curry, and his team, the Golden State Warriors.
Friedberg was also named as a defendant in an amended complaint on December 16.
A few weeks after FTX’s collapse, the former head of compliance reportedly helped investigators from the New York District Attorney’s office, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the SEC with their inquiries into the exchange.
Friedberg reported “early in 2021” that Dabir was based out of an FTX office in Miami. The class action attorneys used this to counter the defendants’ efforts to dismiss the lawsuit.
In court, Friedberg, FTX’s chief regulatory officer and FTX U.S.’s chief compliance officer, testified that Avinash “Avi” Dabir, FTX U.S.’s vice president of business development, was located in Miami, oversaw FTX’s brand ambassadors, including the defendants.
Friedberg’s fresh evidence may help the plaintiff’s case and undermine the defense’s arguments that they lack jurisdiction.
The court’s decision, however, is still up in the air. The case shows how authorities and investors are paying closer attention to bitcoin exchanges.
The growing number of cryptocurrency investors has prompted calls for more openness and responsibility from the industry’s businesses, particularly cryptocurrency exchanges.