Lawsuit Alleges Shaquille O’Neal Violated Securities Law By Promoting Crypto Project

Getty Images for Warner Bros. Discovery

Leena Nasir Entertainment Reporter
Font Size:

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal is being sued for his involvement in promoting the Astrals crypto project.

A class action lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Florida alleges that O’Neal violated securities laws when he sold unregistered Astrals tokens, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Investor Daniel Harper claimed O’Neal “should have known of potential concerns about regulatory issues concerning the sale of unregistered crypto securities,” but promoted them anyway for his own self-interest.

O’Neal was named alongside disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and a slew of other celebrities who endorsed the crypto platform, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

FTX advertisements prominently featured O’Neal before the crypto exchange collapsed in November 2022 following reports about misused customer funds. Bankman-Fried and other former FTX executives have since been indicted for numerous counts of fraud and conspiracy.

O’Neal has attempted to distance himself from the brand by stating he was a paid spokesperson and not personally advocating for FTX.

The basketball legend has reportedly dodged being served, and lawyers for the investors said they’ve faced challenges in their efforts to give him papers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The lawyers allegedly attempted to serve O’Neal at his home, workplace, and near his vehicle for several months but have been unable to make contact, which O’Neal denies.

O’Neal launched the Astrals Project in 2022. His music manager Brian Bayati who acted as CEO, and his son Myles that was the head of investor relations.  The project promoted virtual investments by creating unique avatars that socialized with others, and could be traded. Investors were able to mint, collect, and purchase NFTs at a marketplace for Astrals tokens, according to The Hollywood Reporter. O’Neal had made a name for himself in the crypto market through his involvement in Ethereum projects.

O’Neal routinely promoted Astrals NFTs on his various social media accounts. (RELATED: Cash App Founder Stabbed To Death In San Francisco)

The question of whether O’Neal sold unregistered securities will be considered through a standard set by the Supreme Court that determines whether a transaction qualifies as an investment contract. The lawsuit alleges that Astrals NFTs meet the criteria to be considered a security and evaluated as such, according to The Hollywood Reporter.