FTX lawsuit pulls in MLB and Formula 1

FTX lawsuit pulls in MLB and Formula 1

FTX users want the defunct cryptocurrency exchange’s partners to pay up

A group of FTX users is targeting the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team and MLB for allegedly supporting FTX to commit fraud by promoting the crypto exchange, according to twin class-action lawsuits in a Florida district court on November 27.

The suits accuse the companies of “aiding and abetting and/or actively participating in the FTX Group’s massive, multibillion-dollar global fraud” and advertising unregistered securities.

Mercedes F1 signed a promotional agreement with FTX in 2021, which displayed the company’s logo on cars, uniforms, hats and other items. MLB agreed to a similar deal that year, which put the FTX logo on umpire’s uniforms.

“The centerpiece, and most important feature, of the partnership, however, was the inclusion of FTX.US patches on all MLB umpire uniforms,” reads the class action complaint. “The FTX.US patches marked the first time in the history of MLB, which dates back to the 1800s, that a sponsor brand has had its logo appear on umpire uniforms.”

The complaint was similar to that against Mercedes F1, which says the team displayed FTX’s logo in noticeable locations on its cars and merchandise and within its marketing. “This ploy would not have been as effective were it not for Mercedes F1’s parallel promotions of FTX,” says the complaint.

A list of celebrities who promoted FTX are being sued by the same group, including Shaquille O’Neal and Tom Brady, who are accused of promoting unregistered securities. At least three have settled their cases, including the NFL’s Trevor Lawrence and YouTubers Tom Nash and Kevin Paffrath.

MLB and Mercedes ended their deals with FTX shortly after it filed for bankruptcy in November 2022.

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