PlayUp Gets TRO Against Former US CEO Who Denies Sabotaging FTX Deal
Posted on: December 14, 2021, 08:01h.
Last updated on: December 15, 2021, 03:29h.
A Nevada federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order request by Australian sports betting operator PlayUp against the former CEO of its US arm, Dr. Laila Mintas.
PlayUp sued on Nov. 30, claiming Mintas had deliberately sunk a $450 million takeover bid by crypto exchange giant FTX. That’s allegedly because PlayUp had failed to accede to her excessive salary demands.
Mintas told Casino.org that PlayUp is in possession of an FTX email stating exactly why the crypto company rejected the deal. She said it “clearly outlined” that the Australian side of the leadership team was the “deal breaker.”
She said she would shortly present this document to the court.
Over the last 2 years, I build the PlayUp USA business from scratch having been the US CEO of PlayUp and the only person on the ground for the first almost one and a half years,” she told Casino.org.
“I build a great team on the ground, got PlayUp US live in Colorado and New Jersey and got PlayUp market access in many states which led to PlayUp USA often called ‘the sleeping giant’ in our industry. My hard work has created a valuation of over $400 million alone because of the US market.”
FTX Falls Through
PlayUp hired Mintas in early 2019 to help it expand its business interests in the US, according to documents filed in the US District Court for the District of Nevada. But when it came time to renew Mintas’s contract in November 2021, they found she drove a hard bargain.
Mintas requested a 100 percent pay increase from $500,000 per year to $1 million per year, plus increased stock in the business, according to the lawsuit. She also demanded the company fire the current Global CEO, Daniel Simic, and appoint her to the role instead.
When her demands were not met, the lawsuit claims she approached FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. The lawsuit states she said, “There is conflict within the management of PlayUP, there are systemic issues, and that the company is not clean.”
This was during takeover negotiations, which subsequently collapsed as a direct result of the defendant’s actions, argues the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also claims that Mintas threatened to damage PlayUp’s reputation in response to the failure to renew her contract. Mintas said she would “burn PlayUp to the ground,” according to the court filing.
Mintas denied the allegations to Casino.org.
I am a major shareholder in PlayUp … and invested seven figures of my own savings into the company,” Mintas said. “It makes no sense that I would have made any of those comments that are quoted in the filing or tried to destroy a deal to sell PlayUp, as I would have benefited from that as well as all other shareholders.
“All the claims mentioned in the fillings are wrong, and my lawyers are working on filing shortly my response to those claims to tell the true story based on written evidence,” she added.
District Court Judge Gloria Navarro granted PlayUp a temporary restraining order last week, pending a reply from Mintas, and scheduled a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday.
The order prevents Mintas from engaging “in any form of conduct or mak[ing] any statements or representations that disparage, portray in a negative light, or otherwise impair the reputation or commercial interests of the Company or its past, present and future Subsidiaries.”
Mintas is a lawyer and investor who specializes in sports data, sports betting legislation, regulation, and sports integrity. Before she was hired by PlayUp, she was deputy president at Sportradar. She was also previously director of sports integrity for the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).
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