Ava Labs founder awarded $3M in crypto defamation suit

Ava Labs founder and CEO Emin Gün Sirer has reportedly won a defamation suit against a crypto influencer, awarding him $3 million in damages.

The lawsuit stemmed from claims made in a February 2021 YouTube video by crypto influencer Emre Aksoy linking Sirer to an Islamist group the Turkish government calls the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

Askoy told his large YouTube following that Sirer was a group member, directing them to short the Avalanche (AVAX) token. According to Sirer, the defamation cost him millions and crashed the price of AVAX at the time. The token fell 57% from its $55.51 high on Feb. 11, 2021, to $23.85 by the end of the month.

Aksoy was described as a “marketing expert” that was paid to promote a product competing with Ava Labs, according to the suit. Cointelegraph contacted Emre Aksoy for a comment but did not receive a response by publication time.

According to Law360, on April 28, United States district judge Beth Bloom said Sirer was entitled to $750,000 in general damages for reputational harm. The judge said a prior testimony from Sirer “adequately shows he suffered considerable reputational harm, among other things.”

The judge wrote:

“[The] Plaintiff experienced anxiety and fear during his frequent trips to Turkey because of his justified concern that he would be arrested and detained by the Turkish authorities upon entry as a result of the defendant’s allegations that he was a member of FETÖ.”

Bloom also awarded Sirer $300,000 in “special damages for his increased security costs” and $2 million in punitive damages to “deter the kind of malicious behavior perpetrated by the defendant.”

Ava Labs is the firm behind the Avalanche network, a layer-1 smart contract platform.

Related: Long-standing crypto project vs. scam: Ava Labs CEO shares key difference

Speaking at a blockchain conference on New York City’s Roosevelt Island last week, Sirer commented that the industry could not consider itself mature until regulators can read and audit code.

His comments come amid a broader crypto crackdown in the U.S. where regulators have taken enforcement actions against everything from staking to stablecoins.

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