YouTuber Roaring Kitty, also known on Reddit as u/DeepFuckingValue, is facing a class-action lawsuit over his role in the recent trading frenzy in shares of video game retailer GameStop Corp (NYSE:GME).
In the lawsuit, filed by Washington state resident Christian Iovin, it is alleged that Roaring Kitty, whose real name is Keith Gill, duped retail investors into buying shares in GameStop and other inflated stocks while concealing his own background in finance.
It is also alleged that Gill purchased shares in GameStop last year for around US$5 each and then used his social media presence to drive the shares higher in January, with the stock reaching a peak of around US$347 on January 27, which the lawsuit says violated securities laws concerning market manipulation.
However, Gill has refuted claims that he broke any laws through his actions, saying in prepared testimony for a Congressional hearing to take place later on Thursday that the idea he used social media to lure uninformed investors into buying GameStop shares in “preposterous”.
“I was abundantly clear that my [YouTube] channel was for educational purposes only, and that my aggressive style of investing was unlikely to be suitable for most folks checking out the channel. Whether other individual investors bought the stock was irrelevant to my thesis – my focus was on the fundamentals of the business,” Gill said in the testimony.
“I did not solicit anyone to buy or sell the stock for my own profit. I did not belong to any groups trying to create movements in the stock price. I never had a financial relationship with any hedge fund. I had no information about GameStop except what was public. I did not know any people inside the company, and I never spoke to any insider,” he added.
Alongside Roaring Kitty, Thursday’s hearing before the Financial Services Committee of the US House of Representatives will also bring testimony from a number of other key figures in the GameStop saga.
These include Steve Huffman, the chief executive of Reddit, Vlad Tenev, the boss and co-founder of trading app Robinhood, and the CEO’s of several major hedge funds including Gabriel Plotkin, the boss of Melvin Capital, and Citadel LLC CEO Kenneth C. Griffin.