Adidas filed legal action to freeze $75 million in assets held by Kanye West’s Yeezy brand last year.
Nearly unsealed court documents first discovered by Law360 revealed the finding. Records show Adidas filed the case on November 11th of last year, just a few weeks after the company publicly announced its split with the rapper over extreme antisemitic comments. Adidas sought to freeze the funds to prevent the rapper from moving them while the two parties worked out their disagreement in private arbitration. The judge in the case granted the order on an ex parte basis—not giving Yeezy a chance to respond.
“Petitioner has demonstrated that it has satisfied the grounds for an ex parte attachment because the court is satisfied that there is risk that Yeezy will remove or dissipate assets if notice of this request for attachment is given to Yeezy,” Judge Valerie E. Caproni writes in the November 11th order. Kanye West himself confirmed this on November 22, when he spoke to a celebrity news outlet announcing his 2024 presidential candidacy.
“The reason why I’m announcing that I’m running for president is I want the FCC to look at my money,” the rapper told the outlet last year. “If they actually see, I was looking at my money, and there might have been a possibility that Adidas wouldn’t have went into JP Morgan and froze my account and put a $75 million hold on four different accounts.”
“I went from being a multi-billionaire to not even being able to use my Apple Pay four nights ago. I couldn’t use my Apple Pay because somehow Adidas was able to legally go in and freeze my money, and when I see this, I think, well, if this could happen to me, this could happen to other Americans, and for what? You know this can happen to an American that didn’t even steal anything, that didn’t even hurt anyone. This could just happen to you for saying the wrong idea out loud.”
These claims went reported but unconfirmed, since court records were sealed. A ruling from Judge Caproni unsealed these records earlier this month, saying Yeezy’s discussion of said asset freeze in an interview means the documents no longer need to be sealed.
Yeezy is currently fighting Adidas on whether the asset freeze should remain in place going forward. His lawyers argue that Adidas has not provided enough proof that it needed to be granted an asset freeze in the first place. Meanwhile, Adidas lawyers argue that Yeezy will immediately spend the funds “misusing Adidas property and rendering an award against them ineffectual.”