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Lawsuit against FTX celebrity promoters gets backup from former exec

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A class action lawsuit against celebrities who allegedly promoted the now-bankrupt FTX has scored the cooperation of a former exchange executive — ex-compliance chief Daniel Friedberg.

A May 11 proposed amended complaint filed in a Florida District Court from the class action lawyers said Friedberg provided evidence that promotional activity for FTX originated from Florida.

Friedberg was the chief regulatory officer at FTX and the chief compliance officer of FTX US, the exchange’s United States arm.

The declaration could potentially rebut a key defense made by some of the defendants who claimed the Miami court has no jurisdiction and the claims have no association with Florida.

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

He said Dabir operated from an FTX office in Miami “early in 2021.” The class action lawyers said this refutes the arguments made by the defendants in their motions to dismiss.

Some of the alleged promoters claimed that “no conspiracy could have been ‘engineered in Florida’ because FTX did not even plan to move to Miami until late September 2022” which was before they entered into the alleged promotional agreements.

The class action lawyers are using the new evidence to amend their lawsuit to try to address the jurisdictional claims by the suit’s defendants.

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The court will decide if the evidence is sufficient.

Related: Shaquille O’Neal claims process servers ‘tossed’ FTX legal papers at his moving car

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

Friedberg was also named as a defendant in an amended complaint on Dec. 16.

The former compliance head has reportedly lent a hand to other legal proceedings against the exchange he used to work for.

Investigators with the New York District Attorney, the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) purportedly got details about FTX from Friedberg a few weeks after the exchange collapsed.

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