Tinder’s Sean Rad paid witness $2M before trial against Barry Diller’s company


Tinder co-founder Sean Rad — who’s suing Barry Diller’s media empire for a staggering $2 billion, claiming it duped him concerning the wildly profitable hookup app’s worth — paid $2 million to a key witness forward of his testimony, in accordance with courtroom paperwork. 

The witness, Tinder’s ex-vice president of finance James Kim, was additionally provided a further $1 million if the courtroom guidelines against Diller’s firms, in accordance with courtroom filings.

Kim is predicted to inform the jury in a high-stakes New York trial kicking off Monday that he was pressured by higher-ups at Diller’s media conglomerate IAC, proprietor of the Match Group dating-app empire, into underselling Tinder’s monetary prospects throughout conversations with funding bankers as Match prepped its 2017 Tinder takeover.

Rad and different Tinder co-founders declare the bankers dramatically undervalued Tinder at $3 billion when it ought to’ve been value much more — permitting Diller’s firms to cheat Rad and others out billions when the app was absorbed into Diller’s conglomerate. They are looking for $2 billion in damages. 

A choose has discovered that the funds to Kim are authorized — however Diller’s firms, Match Group and IAC, are nonetheless anticipated to make use of them to cast doubt on Kim’s credibility as a witness when the trial opens on Monday, a supply near the scenario mentioned. 

Former Tinder govt James Kim (pictured) was paid $2 million forward of his testimony, in accordance with courtroom filngs.

“We’re about to go have a jury trial in which you have a situation where a witness has already been paid millions of dollars,” mentioned Stephen DiPrima, an lawyer for Match, throughout a late October listening to. “He’s been promised a million more.”

Partially-redacted paperwork made public as a part of discovery seem to indicate Kim negotiating the funds with Rad’s attorneys. 

“Can you go back to Sean and the investors to see if they would be open to [redacted] up front and on the backend (vs [redacted] up front and [redacted] on backend)?” Kim wrote in a 2018 electronic mail to a lawyer at Gibson Dunn, a legislation agency representing Rad. 

Kim was in the end paid $2 million in May 2019 and promised a further $1 million if the case goes Rad’s manner, in accordance with DiPrima. The alleged greenback quantities, which had been redacted in earlier testimony however had been revealed in a non-redacted model of DiPrima’s testimony in a listening to on Oct. 27, haven’t been beforehand reported. 

Kim allegedly negotiated the fee in a 2018 electronic mail.
New York County Clerk

“Thank you for the payment,” Kim wrote in a May 2019 electronic mail to a litigation funding agency working with Rad shortly after allegedly being given the $2 million. “I look forward to continuing to work with everyone and work towards a successful outcome.” 

Kim was initially one of many plaintiffs on Rad’s swimsuit against Tinder however was pressured to withdraw in 2018 on account of an arbitration settlement he had signed in his Tinder contract. 

Attorneys for Rad have argued that the funds to Kim had been solely made to make up for lost wage and stock choices that had been stripped away when Kim was fired from the company in 2018. And the $2 million fee is value far lower than the $4.2 million value of stock choices that Match took away from Kim, attorneys for each Rad and Match have mentioned. 

Barry Diller’s firms cheated Tinder’s co-founders out of billions of {dollars}, in accordance with Sean Rad’s lawsuit.
SOPA Images/LightRocket by way of Gett

Joel Cohen, the choose listening to the case in New York state Supreme Court, has discovered that the $2 million fee isn’t unlawful, saying that it ”approaches the road between respectable litigation funding and illegitimate fee of witnesses, [but] it doesn’t cross it.”

Judge Cohen has declined to throw out the swimsuit or block Kim from testifying. Nonetheless, he’s permitting details about the funds to be offered to the jury and has requested Rad’s attorneys to supply extra particulars about correspondence between Kim and Rad’s camp forward of Monday’s opening. 

The fee to Kim will probably function ammunition in a broader battle over witness credibility that Susquehanna litigation analyst Thomas Claps expects to play out through the trial.  

Barry Diller’s media empire could possibly be on the hook for $2 billion.
Getty Images

“There will be evidence introduced by both sides that could raise certain eyebrows in the jury box,” Claps informed The Post. “In cases like this, where high profile witnesses are expected to take the stand for both sides, credibility becomes paramount. Both sides will try to introduce potential ‘smoking gun’ documents and allegations of corporate and personal wrongdoing.” 

Claps predicts the Match and Rad will settle the swimsuit for between $300 million and $700 million quite than duke it out to the top of the trial — an concept that Match spokesperson Justine Sacco beforehand mentioned is “clearly speculative” however has not dominated out. 

In what may sign a plan to combat the case to its bitter finish, Match just lately employed Bill Carmody, a high-powered trial lawyer who beforehand represented Uber in a courtroom spat with Google-backed self-driving automotive company Waymo and helped WeWork founder Adam Neumann safe a $480 million settlement from SoftBank. 

Match and IAC just lately employed Bill Carmody, a high-powered lawyer who’s anticipated to ship the company’s opening remarks on Monday.
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Carmody will ship Match and IAC’s opening remarks on Monday, a supply near the businesses mentioned. 

Spokespeople for Match and Rad declined to remark.