Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team have been named in two new lawsuits filed against defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX for being complicit in the promotion of the firm’s fraud scheme.
The class-action lawsuits state that the plaintiffs were misled into buying unregistered securities by the two companies, which were responsible for “aiding and abetting and/or actively participating in the FTX Group’s massive, multibillion-dollar global fraud”.
FTX attracted Mercedes F1 as a partner back in 2021 when the racing team agreed to place the crypto firm’s branding across its cars, uniforms and racing apparel.
Plaintiffs pointed out that the crypto exchange “regularly cheered on and congratulated” the Mercedes F1 team, which had in terms created a “veneer of trustworthiness” among motorsport fans.
“This ploy would not have been as effective were it not for Mercedes F1’s parallel promotions of FTX.”
After FTX secured its Mercedes F1 deal, the MLB followed soon after by putting the exchange’s logo on umpires’ uniforms.
“The centrepiece, and most important feature, of the partnership, however, was the inclusion of FTX.US patches on all MLB umpire uniforms. 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 filing further read.
Things began spelling trouble for FTX when the US Securities and Exchange Commission launched a probe into the firm, highlighting suspicious behaviour from founder and ex-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who was recently found guilty of all charges against him.