Last Updated on December 14, 2021

 

PlayUp, an Australian sports betting firm with sportsbooks in New Jersey and Colorado, has filed a lawsuit against its own U.S. CEO after she allegedly attempted to harm the company after not receiving a new contract.

According to a lawsuit filed in a U.S. District Court in Nevada on Nov. 30, 2021, PlayUp alleges that their U.S. CEO, Dr. Laila Mintas, actively harmed a business deal involving PlayUp after the two parties did not agree on the renewal of her next contract. She then threatened to disparage PlayUp to several other companies if her contract requirements were not granted.

Mintas was appointed U.S. CEO of PlayUp in July 2020.

 

‘Burn PlayUp to the ground’

The suit alleges FTX, a cryptocurrency-exchange company located in the Bahamas, and PlayUp entered into negotiations earlier this year for FTX to purchase $450 million in assets from the company. The lawsuit alleges that Mintas contacted Sam Bankman-Fried, proprietor of FTX, and informed him that “there is conflict within management of PlayUp, there are systemic issues, and that the company is not clean.”

The plaintiffs alleged in the lawsuit that Mintas reached out to Bankman-Fried due to PlayUp not offering her a new contract. Per the lawsuit, Mintas requested in negotiations that she be appointed Global Chief Executive Officer of PlayUp and the current Global CEO, Daniel Matthew Simic, be fired.

Additionally, she asked for her salary to be doubled to $1 million, up from $500,000, and her shareholding in PlayUp be increased to a net 15% non-dilutable holding.

When negotiations broke down, PlayUp said Mintas then contacted Bankman-Fried to sabotage the potential deal and threatened to “burn PlayUp to the ground.”

She further commented that “FTX don’t (sic) even want the Australian business.”

 

Temporary restraining order granted

Mintas allegedly threatened to continue to disparage PlayUp to various commercial, trading and business partners or associates of PlayUp and “destroy those relationship by making false publications about PlayUp and PlayUp Inc.,” according to the suit.

U.S. District Court Judge Gloria M. Navarro granted PlayUp’s motion for a temporary restraining order against Mintas, ordering her to not engage in any form of conduct or make statements or representations that disparage PlayUp in a negative light. She agreed that Mintas likely breached her employment agreement when she stated that “FTX made (her) an offer to do something directly with them,” and that she believed she could take various licenses with her. This is a direct breach of the non-competition provision of her employee agreement, Navarro noted.

However, Navarro did not agree with PlayUp’s allegations that Mintas had threatened to misappropriate the company’s trade secrets and proprietary business information in violation of her employment confidentiality agreement. Navarro wrote in her judgment that PlayUp did not “provide specific evidence showing that Defendant (Mintas) used Confidential Information to stop the FTX sale.”

A hearing on the temporary restraining order has been scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 16.

Robert Linnehan
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