Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary spars with CNBC anchors over FTX

Andrew Burton Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary sparred with CNBC anchors over the $15 million he was given as a paid sponsor of now bankrupt crypto exchange FTX. The CNBC anchors repeatedly asked O’Leary, a frequent commentator himself on the business network, why he considered himself a venture investor in FTX even as he was paid $15 million to sponsor the Sam Bankman-Fried-led crypto exchange. “Money is fungible,” O’Leary said in response to a question from the CNBC host. “I’m not dodging, you are not going to get me there,” O’Leary said. “I totally disclosed every cent when I went in front of the Senate. And on top of that I don’t set my price, the market does. They decide what they are going to pay me.” “I insisted on becoming an investor” in FTX, O’Leary explained. “I’m not going to endorse this company unless I’m a shareholder.” “I took some of the proceeds that I had paid and reinvested it into the company,” O’Leary said. O’Leary, who testedified before a Senate hearing on Tuesday, last month said his investment in FTX was a “bad investment” as his venture capital firm’s account balances on the platform dropped to zero. The CNBC anchors on Friday asked O’Leary how he felt about Bankman-Fried now after O’Leary had defended him in an earlier interview. “Obviously he’s uninvestable now,” O’Leary said on Friday. Obviously. On Thursday Binance (BNB-USD) co-founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao defended the financial soundness of his company as the cryptocurrency exchange has come under scrutiny following the bankruptcy of FTX (FTT-USD), its one-time biggest rival. CZ also directly took on some of his critics, especially O’Leary in the interview. O’Leary has publicly accused Binance of deliberately triggering FTX’s collapse. “Yesterday on the air CZ called me a liar,” O’Leary said. “That suggested that I perjured myself in front of the US Senate for two hours this week. I can assure you that is not the case.” Also see Galaxy Digital’s Novogratz: Stop hunting for black swans — not all crypto exchanges are FTX.

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