A group of FTX users has filed lawsuits against both the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and Major League Baseball (MLB), alleging that the two organizations played a role in perpetuating FTX’s fraudulent activities through promotional deals.
The lawsuits accuse Mercedes F1 and MLB of “aiding and abetting and/or actively participating in the FTX Group’s massive, multibillion-dollar global fraud” and promoting unregistered securities. However, the Mercedes Formula One team suspended the partnership with FTX in November 2022, following the bankruptcy.
The complaint against Mercedes F1 specifically cites the team’s decision to emblazon FTX’s logo on cars, uniforms, hats, and other materials. The complaint alleges that this partnership helped to create a “veneer of trustworthiness” with FTX, encouraging many people to invest in the exchange.
The complaint against MLB similarly alleges that the league’s decision to have umpires wear FTX logos on their uniforms created a false impression of legitimacy, leading to FTX’s financial downfall.
The FTX users are also suing a list of celebrities who promoted the exchange, including former sports stars Shaquille O’Neal and Tom Brady. The allegations against the celebrities are similar to those against Mercedes F1 and MLB.
Several celebrities named in the lawsuits have attempted to have the suits against them dismissed, but at least three have settled the cases: professional American footballer Trevor Lawrence and YouTubers Kevin Paffrath and Tom Nash.
The ongoing lawsuits against Mercedes F1, MLB, and FTX-promoting celebrities underscore the potential legal risks associated with promoting cryptocurrency exchanges and other financial products.