Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, has defended his support for the collapsed crypto exchange FTX (and its former CEO Sam Bankman Fried) (SBF). “This is America. The justice system provides the presumption of innocence unless proven otherwise,” he stressed.
O’Leary also rejected the accusation by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) that he perjured himself in a U.S. Senate hearing over why FTX failed.
In an interview with CNBC on Friday, Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary defended himself as a spokesperson for the defunct crypto exchange FTX. He also spoke out about Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao’s (CZ), calling him a fool.
O’Leary answered when asked why he didn’t condemn Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), former CEO of FTX. O’Leary replied: “This is America. The justice system provides the presumption of innocence unless proven otherwise.”
Last week, the former FTX executive was arrested in the Bahamas. His crypto exchange and the U.S. government have been charged with fraud.
O’Leary was FTX’s spokesperson and was an investor when the exchange collapsed. The company paid him $15 million to be its spokesperson. He claimed that the money was lost when the exchange declared bankruptcy.
When asked, “Are you still conflating money you got paid by FTX that you lost, or did you actually invest some of your own funds?” He replied: “Money is fungible.”
Joe Kernen, CNBC’s Joe Kernen noted that “So you didn’t. Once again, you’re a venture investor who ventured your name … You didn’t even pay your own money on the taxes.”
Andrew Ross Sorkin then asked O’Leary: “What do you think happened? Do you believe this was a fraud?” Emphasizing that he doesn’t “have the facts” and the new FTX CEO also “doesn’t have them yet,”
He replied: “I’m looking for my records. I’m willing to fund a forensic audit of our accounts. I’d like to know what happened, obviously. There’s a lot of bad things that have been alleged here. No question about it. Some of them are going to be true, likely, because there is no money there. Somewhere the cash is gone.”
O’Leary’s testimony to the Senate Banking Committee claimed that FTX failed due to rival crypto exchange Binance. Changpeng Zhao (CZ), Binance CEO, called Kevin O’Leary a liar.
O’Leary nearly secured $8 billion before FTX went bust to keep the crypto exchange from going bankrupt. Bankman-Fried is a crypto trader, and O’Leary will support him again if he starts another venture.
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