Judge Gloria Navarro ruled last week that PlayUp, a sports betting brand with operations in the US, failed to provide sufficient evidence that the company’s former CEO, Dr Laila Mintas, worked to undermine a takeover of the company by the cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
Instead, the court found the Mintas’ claim that FTX’s takeover failed due to PlayUp’s Global CEO, Daniel Simic, attempting to add $170m in side-deals to the FTX asking price and subsequently using Mintas as “scapegoat” is more likely.
Navarro stated: “The defendant provides substantial evidence in her response to the preliminary injunction that her comments did not cause the sale to fail, and plaintiffs did not otherwise provide evidence that the defendant even likely made a disparaging comment to FTX.”
However, the judge highlighted that at the time of PlayUp’s claim, the court was correct to grant its request: “The threat that was claimed by the plaintiff seemed very real at the time, and under the circumstances, the Court issued the order that was necessary.
“But now we have more information. The plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that the defendant breached the non-disparagement provision under the employment agreement. The -- I think it's clear that Dr Mintas has now successfully demonstrated that it was just as likely or more likely that the actions of Daniel Simic are the ones that caused the negotiations to cease irreparably”
As previously reported by Gaming America the evidence provided by Mintas in her initial response was relatively substantial. However, it mainly rested on two key sources. Firstly, the claim that Simic attempted to add $170m on to PlayUp’s asking price, which can be found on page 43 of Mintas’ court filing.
Secondly, Mintas highlights an email, found on page 47 of her court filings, that was reportedly sent by FTX, and allegedly confirms that her actions had no impact on the acquisition.
The email, sent by Ramnik Arora of FTX on November 24, states: “After much consideration we’ve decided against a full acquisition. There are a few concerns from our side.”
Some of these reasons found in the email include a disconnect within the team and the board on valuations, a mistrust and lack of communication between the US and global business. Additionally, it cites conflicts of interest among the global leadership regarding the PlayChip brand.
In response to this lawsuit, Mintas has filed a claim for damages of over $75,000. She states the situation has caused “irreparable harm to her reputation, loss of income, devaluation of her shares, among other damages.”
Currently, Mintas is unable to comment further due to the ever-changing legal situation. However, as soon as developments are made, Gaming America will report on them.