Former PlayUp US chief Dr. Laila Mintas dismissed claims she sabotaged a potential $450 million sale of the company to crypto exchange FTX.
PlayUp made those claims in a lawsuit last month, and was subsequently granted a temporary restraining order against Mintas last week.
Mintas: PlayUp claims ‘make no sense’
However, in a statement sent to LSR, Mintas said “all the claims in the filing are wrong”:
“I am a major shareholder in PlayUp as of today and invested seven figures of my own savings into the company. 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 benefitted from that as well as all other shareholders.”
The lawsuit claims appear to be unverified. The filings are subject to ‘litigation privilege,’ meaning PlayUp cannot be sued over the contents.
Legal response forthcoming
Mintas still owns around 7.5% of the company despite leaving at the end of November.
She told LSR her lawyers were currently preparing a legal response to the suit.
Further, she said she could not comment on specific allegations because it would force her to “make negative comments about [PlayUp’s] Australian leadership.”
PlayUp US started ‘from scratch’
Mintas added: “Over the last two years, I built the PlayUp USA business from scratch, having been the US CEO of PlayUp and the only person on the ground for the first year and a half.
“I built a great team on the ground, got PlayUp US live in Colorado and New Jersey and got market access in many states which led to PlayUp USA often being called ‘the sleeping giant’ in our industry. My hard work has created a valuation of over $400 million alone because of the US market.”
She said FTX had killed the takeover because of the operator’s Australian leadership rather than her intervention. Mintas said she had an email to prove that.
What next for PlayUp, Mintas?
The court schedule has been pushed back because process servers could not find Mintas. In asking for an extension, PlayUp noted it had “repeatedly attempted to serve [Mintas] at her last known address without success.”
On December 2, a process server went to Mintas’ Henderson, NV home and spoke to a male occupant who said he was “performing a home inspection.” He said Mintas was “believed to have moved to the Bahamas.”
PlayUp subsequently found the house had been put up for sale, per a court filing.
Mintas now has until December 27 to file a response. PlayUp can then reply by December 29, before a hearing in Las Vegas on January 3, 2022.
Previous legal dispute
This is not the first industry legal dispute involving Mintas. In January 2020, then-Bet.Works COO Quinton Singleton filed a lawsuit against Mintas and David Wang, then-chairwoman and CEO of Bet.Works, respectively.
The filing claimed Wang and Mintas carried out a “scheme of extortion and defamation” against Singleton. Specifically, the suit alleged Wang and Mintas tried to force Singleton to give up his ownership stake in Bet.Works “to enrich themselves”.
Bet.Works filed a countersuit and the case was ultimately settled out of court. Singleton kept his stake in the business, a person familiar with the case told LSR.