The ongoing legal dispute between PlayUp and its former US CEO Laila Mintas has taken on a different complexion this week following the filing of a response from Mintas through law firm Naylor & Braster.
Mintas is currently subject to a restraining order issued by PlayUp, with the company accusing her of attempting to derail a proposed acquisition by cryptocurrency exchange FTX Ltd.
Pivotal to Mintas’ filing are details of two emails sent by PlayUp’s global CEO Daniel Simic which, the document alleges, offer an entirely different explanation as to why the acquisition failed to materialize.
Mintas’ filing stated: “After its global CEO torpedoes a $450m deal with buyer FTX Limited (FTX) would have made the shareholders a substantial sum, PlayUp Ltd (PlayUp Ltd), an Australian company, and its wholly owned subsidiary Plaintiff PlayUp Inc (PlayUp Inc), sought to make PlayUp Inc’s CEO, Dr Laila Mintas, the scapegoat.
“PlayUp Inc ran to this Court accusing Dr Mintas of disparaging PlayUp and causing the FTX deal to fall through. However, PlayUp withheld from this Court (Nevada District Court) two key emails that not only demonstrate that it was not Dr Mintas that sabotaged the deal but rather PlayUp Ltd’s global CEO, Daniel Simic.”
According to Mintas’ submission, Simic “became greedy” and caused the deal to fall through. “FTX passed on the deal due to Simic’s actions – not Dr Mintas,” it noted.
Citing an email from November 9, 2021, the filing claims 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 FTX to pay a $65m incentive to Australian “key staff” including $25m for himself which increased the total acquisition price to an additional $170m.
The second key email, according to Mintas, was from FTX explaining why it had passed on the deal, identifying many demands allegedly made by Simic that it would not agree to, including the acquisition of PlayChip. The filing stated: “PlayUp conveniently failed to provide this email to the Court and instead accuse Dr Mintas of disparaging PlayUp, causing the deal to fall through. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
In the appendix document submitted to the court, Mintas’ declaration concluded: “I strongly believe that the PlayUp Ltd board members have intentionally tried to manipulate the Court by submitting 417 pages to the Court but not including the two most important, determining emails of the entire case: (1) email from Simic dated November 9, 2021, confirming that he wanted to do a side deal only a few days before travelling to the Bahamas meeting; and, (2) the November 24, 2021 email from FTX that explains the four reasons why FTX skipped on the deal and confirms that Simic has asked for the side deal involving PlayChip 13 and destroyed the deal.”
PlayUp, in response to reports in the gaming trade media, confirmed on December 15 that it had taken legal action against Mintas.
A statement from the firm read: “While any litigation is undesirable the steps were necessary to safeguard the interests of PlayUp. PlayUp refutes the recent publications made by Laila Mintas with respect to the proceedings.
“As the matter is presently before the Courts, PlayUp will not make further comment, and looks forward to a prompt resolution or determination of those issues. PlayUp remains focused on its continued rapid growth in the burgeoning US market.”