“Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary defended his position as spokesperson for bankrupt crypto firm FTX on CNBCSquawk boxFriday morning.
CNBC anchors Andrew Ross Sorkin, Joe Kernan, and Becky Quick questioned O’Leary about his paid ambassador position at FTX, and his venture capital career. Defending Bankman-Fried A few days ago arrest him.
When asked why he did not condemn Pinkman-Fried so strongly, O’Leary replied, “This is America. The justice system provides for the presumption of innocence unless proven otherwise.” The former FTX CEO was arrested by Bahamas authorities earlier this week, pending extradition and trial to face charges in US federal court.
“Kevin, you’re an actor in this drama, and you had a front row seat to Pinkman-Fried until the very end,” Sorkin said. “What do you think happened? Do you think this was a scam?”
“I don’t have the facts. [New FTX CEO] John Ray He doesn’t own it yet. O’Leary replied that he would get it. “I’m looking at my records. I’m willing to fund a criminal account of our accounts.”
He added, “There are a lot of bad things that have been alleged here, and a lot of them are likely to be true.”
But at the same time, O’Leary said he’s not inclined to get sucked into investor anger on Twitter.
“I understand the herd is angry,” said the businessman, who is also a CNBC contributor.
Kernen pressured O’Leary into his quick stance on Bitcoin.
“Does this conversion coincide with $15 million she got from FTXKernen asked. “No,” O’Leary said, noting that his investment in Bitcoin began years before he took on the role of FTX’s FTX Ambassador in 2018.
But Sorkin referred to his 2019 TV appearances and noted that O’Leary called bitcoin “garbage.”
“So I’m wrong about that,” O’Leary said. “The point is, it was a long time ago before I became a paid spokesperson. A long time before that.”
Sorkin also noted that unlike Tom Brady or Larry David, investors might expect that O’Leary knows better than most how to understand whether or not FTX is a problem.
“Companies advertise, and they do it that way,” O’Leary said.
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