Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary says FTX paid him $15 million to be the company’s spokesperson, but he lost nearly all of it when the crypto exchange was hacked.
In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, O’Leary said he had invested about $9.7 million in crypto tokens from his spokesperson’s check with his FTX account, which dropped to zero after the exchange crashed last month.
It was tied up with $1 million in FTX equity, which is also now worthless. O’Leary said the remaining $4 million from the deal went to taxes and agent fees.
“The total deal was just under $15 million — all zero,” he said. “It was not a good investment.
A person known as “Mr.” Awesome” told CNBC last weekend that he spoke with former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried about his missing funds.
O’Leary said he told the disgraced crypto-tycoon, “Look, Sam, I’m just one investor, but I have zero in my account and no accounting records. Where did the money go? I need to find out where the money went.”
O’Leary admits he fell into the trap of “groupthink” after drinking the Kool-Aid from institutional investors’ frenzy to get into crypto exchanges.
“We all look like fools. We relied on each other’s diligence,” he said.
Despite the fact that the billionaire lost millions of his own money, he stopped short of condemning Bankman-Fried in the legal sense and said that he was waiting for a full investigation of the company before anyone could call the founder of FTX guilty of anything.
FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11. In one of his recent interviews, Bankman-Fried claimed that $8 billion was “incorrectly accounted for” on FTX’s balance sheet.