A Nevada court has denied an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction to be issued against Dr Laila Mintas by technology supplier PlayUp, after finding that the group’s ex-CEO had not caused the collapse of a proposed sale and “was turned into the scapegoat”.
The ongoing legal dispute stems from the online betting and gaming provider citing breach of contract claims, alleging that Mintas had tried to damage the business and ultimately “engaged in conduct directly in violation” of contractual terms in causing the collapse of a proposed sale.
However, Judge Gloria Navarro denied the motion for a preliminary injunction last week, stating that Dr Mintas’ defence had 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”.
The alleged derailment of a proposed acquisition by cryptocurrency exchange FTX has previously seen Mintas’ defence claim that Daniel Simic, PlayUp Global CEO, “became greedy” and caused the deal to fall through.
Citing an email from November 9, 2021, a prior filing claimed that Simic disclosed to Dr Mintas that he wanted to require FTX to acquire a company purportedly unrelated to PlayUp, PlayChip, for an additional $105m, and the group to pay a $65m incentive to Australian “key staff”, including $25m for himself, which increased the total acquisition price to an additional $170m.
PlayUp had alleged that communication between Dr Mintas and Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, had torpedoed the potential transaction, after she had been asked not to attend a meeting between the parties in the Bahamas.
Following this gathering, FTX emailed the company to confirm that it had decided against pursuing a full acquisition. Navarro, however, noted that this had not been submitted to the court despite it being “definitely relevant to the issue at hand and does certainly place things in a much different light”.
“This email confirms that Mr Simic had added new terms to the deal when he and Costa met with FTX,” Navarro stated. “You know, and it’s just more likely that this point, in my mind, that Dr Mintas was exercising her executive responsibility and that she was turned into the scapegoat.”
She added that an initial injunction was granted as the “threat that was claimed by the plaintiff seemed very real at the time,” and that such an order seemed necessary under the circumstances.
However, Navarro commented that PlayUp has “failed to demonstrate that the defendant breached the non-disparagement provision under the employment agreement”.
Responding to this latest development, Dr Mintas’ legal representatives reassert that she “strongly denies their allegations and will fight vigorously against the remaining claims and prosecute her counterclaims”.
These include counterclaims for fraud, defamation, and abuse of process, with it alleged that PlayUp “abused and manipulated the legal process and had an ulterior motive for bringing this litigation and seeking a preliminary injunction”.
Mintas argues that the global defamation has caused “irreparable harm to her reputation, loss of income, devaluation of her shares, among other damages”, and that PlayUp and Simic “made false and inflammatory accusations against Dr Mintas, calling her irrational, corrupt, incapable and incompetent”.
It is also said that she suffered “extreme or severe emotional distress, with the unnecessary stress that was caused,” as well as stating that the company “is guilty of oppression, fraud and malice” as it “never intended to enter into a new contract”.
Furthermore, the defence is also aiming to declare that a restraining order in Australia, “has no force and effect,” with it added that the company “is still trying to gag Dr Mintas”.