One of the celebrities commissioned by FTX at the time to act as a spokesman has stated that he lost his $15 million fee.
Television personality Kevin O’Leary recently said he lost the total sum of $15 million FTX paid him as a spokesman. The Canadian investor and media contributor referred to the deal as a bad investment, adding that he was influenced by “groupthink”. Additionally, O’Leary claimed that none of his investment partners lost money. Lamenting his FTX loss, O’Leary said:
“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.”
O’Leary also revealed that he had more than $1 million worth of equity at FTX. However, he added that the company’s bankruptcy protection process makes this significant investment worthless. Furthermore, the former spokesperson said a combination of taxation and agent fees eroded the balance of just over $4 million.
Loss of $15 Million FTX Spokesman Deal One of Many Problems Plaguing O’Leary
However, losing around $15 million while being a spokesman for FTX is not the only headache O’Leary has to worry about now. The “Shark Tank” judge and CNBC contributor was one of several celebrities served lawsuits by aggrieved investors of the defunct exchange. According to these investors, who sustained a massive $11 billion in damages, O’Leary and other FTX ambassadors should have exercised more due diligence. In addition, the class-action lawsuit also alleges that the fallen Bahamian crypto exchange targeted unsophisticated investors.
Other prominent names mentioned in the lawsuit include American football legendary quarterback Tom Brady and seasoned American comedian Larry David. Also named as defendants are prolific Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Brady’s ex-wife Gisele Bündchen.
While serving as spokesperson for FTX, O’leary aggressively promoted the ill-fated crypto exchange on social media and the web. Part of his touting included playing up his close ties to now embattled former FTX chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried.
Differing Opinions on FTX Compliance Structure
At the inception of O’Leary’s promotional campaign for FTX, the media contributor claimed that the exchange’s compliance systems drew him in. However, recent bankruptcy protection filings by the sunken exchange’s new CEO, John Ray III, run contrary to O’Leary’s position at the time. According to Ray, FTX’s risk, audit, and compliance controls are a ‘complete failure of corporate controls.”
Ray has been ‘cleaning house’ at the defunct crypto exchange since he succeeded SBF at the helm. The lawyer and insolvency specialist previously assured all FTX stakeholders that the bankruptcy process would be thorough and transparent.
However, Ray also came under recent criticism from his embattled predecessor, who claimed that the insolvency professional’s recent testimony on FTX was false. In addition, Bankman-Fried also alleged that Ray and his team had snubbed him since they took over the company he founded. At the time, SBF stated:
“I think it’s pretty hard, if you try and take over a company and refuse to talk with anyone who was involved in running that company, to, in a short period of time, know where any of the relevant data would be.”
Since resigning from FTX, SBF has remained in relative obscurity in the Bahamas.