Taylor Swift was one of the only celebrities who did their due diligence on crypto exchange FTX, according to the lawyer suing the now-bankrupt company’s celebrity promoters.
Attorney Adam Moskowitz has gone after basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, football star Tom Brady, “Seinfeld” creator Larry David and more than a dozen other FTX promoters in a class action lawsuit that accuses them of promoting the sale of unregistered securities.
Moskowitz is seeking $5 billion in the lawsuit, he said during an episode of The Scoop podcast with Frank Chaparro. He claims the exchange’s celebrity boosters didn’t do their due diligence to check whether they may be breaking the law before cutting TV and digital ads for FTX.
“The one person I found that did that was Taylor Swift. In our discovery, Taylor Swift actually asked them, 'Can you tell me that these are not unregistered securities?’” Moskowitz said. Swift reportedly came close to inking a $100 million sponsorship deal with FTX, but the partnership never materialized. Swift did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On the other hand, billionaire Twitter honcho Elon Musk did have a comment.
I’m not surprised. Taylor is smart and her father is a well-regarded investment banker.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 19, 2023
FTX, Voyager, Binance
Moskowitz is leading several class action lawsuits targeting the promoters of major crypto companies, including the now-bankrupt firms FTX and Voyager Digital. On March 31, the Moskowitz Law Firm filed a class action against influencers who have promoted Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange.
The case targeting FTX celebrity promoters had been stalled for months as the firm struggled to serve O'Neal with official notice that he was being sued. It took three months and process servers in several states to track him down, despite the fact that O’Neal is a fixture on “The NBA on TNT” and is a touring DJ.
“The largest man on the planet, we can’t serve,” Moskowitz said. “In my 35 years of doing class action work, I’ve never had this issue before.”
Shaq is a sheriff's deputy
Moskowitz went as far as to send a complaint to the sheriff’s office where O'Neal is a sheriff’s deputy in Central Florida in an attempt to serve him. The office allegedly cashed Moskowitz’s $50 check but did not serve O’Neal.
“They cashed our $50 and they said, ‘Sorry, we haven't been able to serve him,’” Moskowitz said. O’Neal didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The class action lawsuit claims that O’Neal and other celebrities promoted the sale of unregistered securities. The plaintiffs in the case are using a particularly broad Florida law in the case that prohibits the promotion of unregistered securities, and does not require the promoter to have been deceitful to be sued.
“You promote an unregistered security for financial benefit, you are liable for all the rescissory damages,” Moskowitz said.
For his part, O'Neal has said he’s staying away from crypto after FTX filed for bankruptcy protection in November, less than a year after he appeared in advertising for the firm.
Moskowitz, who specializes in class action lawsuits, said he hopes celebrities and influencers are more careful about boosting crypto companies in the future.
“I mean, why would you possibly promote cryptocurrency if it may be an unregistered security? That's just baffling to me,” Moskowitz said. “There's a long list of influencers that promoted this. But you know, you’ve got to be realistic. I mean, I can't go after 1,000 right now. So you go after the largest ones.”
Update: This story has been updated with Musk commentary.
Disclaimer: The former CEO and majority shareholder of The Block has disclosed a series of loans from former FTX and Alameda founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
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