Former PlayUp CEO Denies Being Responsible for FTX Sale

Ben H / 31 December 2021

Last Updated on 31 December 2021

Laila Mintas, the former PlayUp CEO, has denied any wrongdoing and said that she never intended to torpedo the deal to sell Australian bookmaker PlayUp to crypto exchange company FTX.

PlayUp decided to part ways with Mintas claiming the former CEO asked for the global CEO position and threatened to sabotage the FTX deal if she didn’t get it. The sports betting provider even filed a lawsuit against Mintas and asked for a restraining order against her.

Current PlayUp Global CEO Got Greedy According to Mintas

Laila Mintas didn’t wait long to respond to those accusations, however, and has come out with a 145-page filing of her own. In it, she claims that it was the current PlayUp CEO Daniel Simic who botched the FTX deal. According to Mintas, Simic asked FTX to increase its original offer of US$450 million by US$170 million more.

The former PlayUp CEO says that even though FTX agreed to pay US$450 million for the betting and gaming operator, Simic wanted more. So, he asked the crypto exchange to fork out an additional US$105 million for PlayChip and US$65 million to keep key PlayUp staff.

Four Concerns about the Deal

In the 145-page filing, Mintas responds to accusations made against her and also supports her claims with company emails and messages. In one of those emails, sent from FTX’s head of product, Ramnik Arora, FTX confessed to having four concerns that made the company abandon the deal. These were:

  1. Lack of communication
  2. Mistrust between PlayUp’s operations in the US and globally
  3. Conflict about the universal gaming token PlayChip
  4. FTX not planning to continue with PlayUp’s important personnel

The email was sent to PlayUp’s global CEO, Daniel Simic, and the co-founder and CTO of PlayUp Global, Michael Costa.

Mintas claimed that she would only be able to complete the deal if she replaced Simic. She added that Simic’s demands were unreasonable and unethical and that they were the reason why the deal collapsed.

Another thing that Mintas mentions in the filing is that Simic was blacklisted in Australia. In an email she sent on November 25, Mintas wrote that she was communicating with FTX, but that Simic’s status in Australia could lead to key PlayUp employees losing their licenses.

It was at that point that Ashley Kerr, PlayUp’s general counsel, told Mintas to stop communicating with parties from the outside.

A Bankrupt Shareholder that Could Cause Problems with Regulators

Mintas wrote another email the next day, this time to Costa, Simic, and Richard Sapsford saying that she found it “interesting” that PlayChip was a shareholder in PlayUp, and a significant one at that, despite the company being bankrupt.

She went on to say that regulators in America and Australia might see a problem in that and suggested that Simic be replaced as PlayUp’s Global CEO, and the company appoint her instead.

Laila Mintas didn’t end there, though. She attacked the company by saying that she hadn’t received her salary for the past twelve months and in a separate affidavit said that she invested US$1.2 million in PlayUp.

Mintas was informed that her contract was terminated and that she was no longer the US PlayUp CEO by Ashely Kerr via email.

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Ben H
Ben Harris is the Communications Manager for KRUZEY, an AFL and NRL expert, and writer. He has one daughter that he loves dearly and five... [Read full bio]

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