Ed Craven, the billionaire co-founder of Stake.com, has accused a former business associate of stealing tens of millions of dollars of company-owned cryptocurrency and “siphoning away assets”. These allegations, made by Mr Craven and his co-founder Bijan Tehrani, were part of a motion to dismiss filed in the US District Court in response to an amended complaint filed by former associate Christopher Freeman in January. Freeman is alleging that he was misled into not taking part in the formation of Stake and is seeking $400 million in damages.
Mr Tehrani and Mr Freeman grew up together in Connecticut and had worked together on the crypto dice gambling website Primedice a decade ago. It was during their time running this business that Mr Craven and Mr Tehrani claim Mr Freeman embezzled tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency and used the Primedice cold wallet as his personal piggy bank, funnelling its contents into his personal Coinbase account in January 2022.
Mr Freeman’s allegations of bullying, secret betrayals, and deceit are “pure fantasy”, motivated by regret for passing on the opportunity to join a successful business, according to the court documents obtained by The Australian Financial Review. The Stake.com co-founders claim that Freeman was misled into not taking part in Stake and that his concerns about the company’s “loose” approach to compliance issues are unfounded. Freeman said he was entitled to 20% of Stake.com and raised the idea of a crypto casino with the co-founders in 2016.
The motion to dismiss says, “Instead of making peace with his decision to opt out of the new business opportunity, Freeman apparently became consumed with bitterness, leading him to steal tens of millions of dollars of assets from Primedice and then manufacture a tale about how he made these bad decisions only because his best friend ‘lied … about the true nature of Stake.com.” The co-founders claim that Freeman has no evidence to back up his claims, as “he turned down” the opportunity to invest in the business after it launched and began accepting cryptocurrency.
Stake.com is not a legal entity and is registered in the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, but has strong ties to Melbourne-based Easygo Solutions, another of Mr Craven’s businesses. The company generated $1.8 billion in revenue and a pre-tax operating profit of $550 million in 2021 and is a major sponsor of English Premier League Club Everton.