Wissam Al Mana, a Qatari billionaire and ex-husband to US singer Janet Jackon, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Facebook after a dubious crypto project used his photo in ads on the platform.
Reported by The Times on Sunday, the lawsuit was filed in a high court in Dublin, the Irish capital and base of the social media giant’s European headquarter.
The lawsuit alleges Facebook for allowing the fraudulent entity to use Al Mana’s image without taking his consent for the promotion of its crypto investment products to investors in the middle east.
A high-profile lawyer in handling such cases
It was filed last week by solicitors of law firm Ronan Daly Jermyn, and Al Mana is being represented by defamation lawyer Paul Tweed.
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Tweed has represented high-profile clients, including Djibouti president Ismail Omar Guelleh and Qatari critic Ghanem Nuseibeh with similar lawsuits against Facebook. He also represented several celebrities, including Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Lopez, Nicolas Cage, and Harrison Ford, in defamation cases in Ireland courts.
According to Tweed, the case was strategically filed in Ireland as the European laws give the plaintiff a better chance. At the same time, in the United States, companies repeatedly exploit the first amendment laws, which allows free speech for all, to evade their responsibilities in protecting users’ reputations.
Al Mana is one of the prominent businessmen in the Middle East and has exclusive regional rights to luxury brands like Harvey Nichols, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, and Hermès. His net worth is estimated to be over a billion euros.
Many shady crypto projects have earlier used the images or false endorsements of celebrities to promote their investment schemes to the masses. The initial coin offering (ICO) Centra Tech promoted by boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather and rapper DJ Khaled also turned out to be fraudulent, as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges its founder with securities and wire fraud.