Lawsuit against FTX celebrity promoters gains backing from former exec

A class action lawsuit against celebrities who allegedly promoted the now-defunct FTX has received support from ex-compliance chief Daniel Friedberg, a former stock exchange executive.

An amended complaint filed by class action attorneys in Florida District Court on May 11 states that Friedberg provided evidence that promotional activity for FTX originated in Florida.

Friedberg was chief regulatory officer at FTX and chief compliance officer for FTX US, the US arm of the exchange.

The statement could potentially refute a key defense of some defendants who argued that the Miami court lacked jurisdiction and that the claims do not pertain to Florida.

In sworn testimony, Friedberg said that Avinash “Avi” Dabir, vice president of FTX US business development, was based in Miami and was in charge of brand ambassadors for FTX, including defendants in the case — including former basketball player Shaquille O’Neal. Also included were comedian Larry David, retired NFL player Tom Brady and FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

He said Dabir was operating out of an FTX office in Miami “by early 2021”. Class action lawyers said it contradicts the defendants’ arguments in their motions to dismiss.

Some of the alleged promoters claimed that “a conspiracy could not have been ‘engineered in Florida’ as FTX did not plan to move to Miami until the end of September 2022,” which was before the alleged promoters made the deal.

Class action attorneys are using the new evidence to revise their lawsuits in an attempt to address the lawsuit defendants’ jurisdictional claims.

The court decides whether the evidence is sufficient or not.

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The lawsuit was first filed in mid-November, shortly after the stock market crash. Other alleged celebrity promoters include Brady’s then-wife and model Gisele Bündchen, entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary, and basketball star Steph Curry with his team, the Golden State Warriors.

Friedberg was also named as a defendant in an amended complaint dated December 16.

The former head of compliance is reportedly involved in other legal proceedings against the exchange he worked for.

Investigators from the New York District Attorney, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reportedly obtained details about FTX from Friedberg a few weeks after the stock market crash.

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