Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary revealed in an interview with CNBC Thursday that the collapsed crypto exchange FTX paid him about $15 million last year to become its spokesperson.
Noting that he fell prey to “groupthink,” O’Leary detailed:
Total deal was just under $15 million, all in … I put about $9.7 million into crypto. I think that’s what I lost. I don’t know. It’s all at zero.
The Shark Tank star further revealed that he also had over $1 million of FTX equity, which is now rendered worthless due to the bankruptcy protection process. In addition, Mr. Wonderful explained that the balance of a little over $4 million was purportedly eaten up by taxation and agent fees. He admitted:
It was not a good investment.
FTX filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11 and Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) stepped down as the CEO. The company is now being investigated for mishandling customer funds. FTX’s new CEO, John Ray, told the bankruptcy court: “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here.”
Despite stating that he lost millions of dollars in the FTX collapse, O’Leary has insisted that Bankman-Fried is one of the best traders in the crypto space and that he would back him again if he has another venture. This has shocked the crypto industry since most people believe that Bankman-Fried is a fraud and a conman. Some have compared the FTX meltdown to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
Bankman-Fried has insisted that he did not knowingly commit fraud. Like O’Leary, billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman similarly said he believes SBF was telling the truth. Mr. Wonderful also recently revealed that he almost secured $8 billion to save FTX before it collapsed and had to file for bankruptcy.