After months of cat and mouse, lawyers for a group of FTX investors have served Shaquille O’Neal. Again.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys say O’Neal has repeatedly dodged process servers who have been trying to hand-deliver legal complaints related to his role as a celebrity spokesperson for the cryptocurrency platform FTX, which collapsed late last year and is now the subject of a massive federal investigation.
The 7-foot-1 NBA hall-of-famer and commentator is one of several celebrities accused of defrauding investors by appearing as a spokesperson for FTX, though he is the only one who has tried to dodge being served, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs.
“It seems absurd to have to go to such great lengths to serve Mr. O’Neal,” said Adam Moskowitz, a lawyer representing FTX investors.
The delivery finally happened, Moskowitz said, on Tuesday night, outside of the Miami venue formerly known as FTX Arena.
Lawyers for O’Neal didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last month, it seemed as if the chase was finally over after Moskowitz said his firm’s process servers reached O’Neal as he was leaving his home in Georgia in an SUV. O’Neal’s lawyers disputed that in court, however, arguing that papers thrown at a moving vehicle run afoul of the requirements for serving a summons, the Wall Street Journal reported.
For the latest effort, the process server filmed the event to ensure there was no ambiguity, Moskowitz said. The server delivered the FTX complaint as well as a a separate proposed class-action case related to Astrals Project, O’Neal’s non-fungible tokens venture. The second lawsuit, filed Tuesday, alleges O’Neal sold unregistered securities.
The FTX lawsuit, filed in November, accuses the bankrupt company’s co-founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, along with several public figures who endorsed the platform — including O’Neal, Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen and Steph Curry — of defrauding investors.
Moskowitz called O’Neal’s supposed evasive maneuvering a “silly service sideshow” that has held up the legal process for thousands of FTX investors.
O’Neal has seldom spoken publicly about his role in FTX, though he told CNBC in December that he was “just a paid spokesperson for a commercial.”
FTX collapsed into bankruptcy on November 11 after depositors and investors yanked their money amid concerns about the platform’s balance sheet. Since then, federal prosecutors have charged Bankman-Fried and several other executives with orchestrating one of the biggest financial frauds in US history.
Bankman-Fried, who was arrested in December and is out on house arrest, has pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of fraud and conspiracy. At least three of his former co-workers have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with investigators.
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