Taylor Swift was offered a $100 million sponsorship deal from FTX but turned it down a few months before the crypto firm collapsed after asking the perfect due diligence question, according to a lawyer leading a class action suit against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and nearly a dozen celebrities who signed on with FTX.
Florida attorney Adam Moskowitz said in a podcast Wednesday that during discovery he learned Swift did her due diligence and walked away.
The podcast hosts — The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Stephanie Murray — asked Moskowitz why other FTX celebrity “ambassadors” hadn’t checked with their lawyers or done their own due diligence.
Moskowitz said, “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?’”
The complaint Moskowitz filed in federal court in Miami (with co-counsel David Boies) alleges that FTX was selling unregistered securities (yield-bearing accounts) and that the celebrity ambassadors were aiding and abetting FTX while “receiving secret undisclosed compensation for their promotion of the Deceptive FTX Platform.”
Named in the complaint are Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, Stephen Curry, Shaquille O’Neal, Udonis Haslem, David Ortiz, Trevor Lawrence, Shohei Ohtani, Naomi Osaka, Larry David, and Kevin O’Leary.
The Financial Times reported in December that Swift considered a $100 million sponsorship with FTX but talks “fizzled out.”
Elon Musk said on Twitter Wednesday he’s not surprised Swift passed on FTX. “Taylor is smart and her father is a well-regarded investment banker,” Musk tweeted.
The class action complaint against Bankman-Fried and the celebrities alleges violations of the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act and civil conspiracy. Moskowitz says class damages could be over $5 billion.
Kim Kardashian agreed last October to pay the SEC $1.26 million to settle charges of promoting EthereumMax crypto tokens to her Instagram followers without disclosing that she was paid for the promotion.
SEC chair Gary Gensler said Kardashian’s case “serves as a reminder to celebrities and others that the law requires them to disclose to the public when and how much they are paid to promote investing in securities.”
In March this year, the SEC charged Justin Sun with selling unregistered crypto asset securities of Tronix and BitTorrent. At the same time, it charged eight celebrities including Lindsay Lohan and Jake Paul for “illegally touting TRX and/or BTT without disclosing that they were compensated for doing so and the amount of their compensation.”
In a superseding 31-count indictment against Bankman-Fried last month, the DOJ added a new charge of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. He’s also charged with securities fraud on FTX investors and conspiracies involving money laundering, bank fraud, and securities fraud.
Bankman-Fried authorized and directed a bribe of around $40 million in cryptocurrency to Chinese government officials in November 2021, according to the indictment.
The payments were allegedly intended to influence the officials to unfreeze crypto accounts worth over $1 billion belonging to Bankman-Fried, FTX’s hedge fund Alameda Research, and others.
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