A former partner of Stake.com claims he was unfairly excluded from the hugely successful cryptocurrency sports betting and online casino. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that he is suing the Australian creators of the platform, Ed Craven and Bijan Tehrani, hoping for a multimillion-dollar payout.
Christopher Freeman, who currently resides in Florida, filed a civil lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, alleging Craven and Tehrani duped him when creating Stake.com. He wants $400 million in punitive actions and damages, and also wants them to return an investment he made in a company that served as a precursor to Stake.com.
In addition to Craven and Tehrani, Stake.com is a defendant in the case. In a statement, the company’s lawyers call the allegations in the lawsuit “utterly frivolous” and “provably false.” If a judge doesn’t dismiss the lawsuit, they said they’re ready to defend the lawsuit.
A Piece of the Action
Freeman’s lawsuit cites Craven’s real estate acquisitions as proof of Stake.com’s overwhelming success. This, he states, was only possible because of his involvement and his ideas.
In August, Craven paid AU$80 million (US$53.34 million) for a “ghost mansion” in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak. In addition, entities connected to Craven have allegedly purchased other properties for AU$38 million (US$25.82 million) earlier this year.
Freeman explained that he went to school with Tehrani in Connecticut and that he had been friends with the Stake.com co-founder since they were young. That led to a business relationship that, according to Freeman, allowed Tehrani and Craven to achieve success.
Freeman claims in his lawsuit that he initially owned 20% of Primedice, a cryptocurrency dice game, while Tehrani and Craven owned 40%. However, he adds that Primedice shares fell to 14% of their original value within nine months of its founding.
This drop was due to the company using the shares to pay the development team, according to Freeman. He claims that, despite Primedice’s agreement to only give shares to those who invested money in the company, Craven and Tehrani made a different decision.
Pushing Freeman Out
Freeman claimed that he and his business partners discussed the idea of a cryptocurrency casino in 2016 as the price of cryptocurrencies rose. Tehrani and Craven shot down the idea, supposedly due to potential regulatory concerns.
However, Freeman thinks the two were already conspiring against him. He claims that Tehrani and Craven then discouraged him from joining their new venture, which would ultimately become Stake.com.
They allegedly told him that he could only participate if he moved to Australia. In addition, they explained that the new business would only trade in fiat, such as the US dollar and euro. This, Freeman said at the time, was too risky because of the amount of competition in the fiat gambling space. As a result, he backed out.
That obviously wasn’t the case. Stake.com emphasizes its interaction with cryptocurrencies, which its ambassador, pop artist Drake, routinely flaunts on social media.
Still, the fissure in the relationship grew. Tehrani and Craven allegedly revoked his access to internal systems and ultimately blocked his Primedice account completely.
Stake.com’s Rise to Fame
Craven and Tehrani formed Stake.com, which has a gaming license in Curacao, in Melbourne in 2017, according to a late 2021 investigation by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. The main sponsor of the English Premier League soccer team Everton has grown into a company with a potential market value of up to $1 billion.
Stake.com claims to have processed $100 billion in bets through its online casino and sports betting platforms. It’s not too concerned about the lawsuit, calling out Freeman for spreading false information.
The company’s lawyers are optimistic that a judge will throw out the case before it gets to court. If so, they’re likely to go after Freeman for his “desperate attempt to spread false information.”
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