Kevin O’Leary defends SBF, says FTX should be audited

In an interview with Yahoo Finance on Dec. 6, Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary called for calm in the wake of FTX’s collapse. The exchange’s former CEO, Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried, should be understood as innocent unless evidence comes to light that shows he has committed fraud, O’Leary stated.

O’Leary called for FTX to be audited to reveal where the exchange’s money went so that investors can get their funds back.

On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, SBF took several interviews in which he claimed he was not guilty of fraud, which led to backlash within the crypto community. But O’Leary defended SBF in this new interview, saying he is “innocent until proven guilty.” He explained:

“I am of the ilk and of the group of people that says, ‘You’re innocent until proven guilty.’ That’s what I believe. And I want the facts. And so, if you tell me that you didn’t — you did or didn’t do something, I’m going to believe you until I find out it’s a falsehood.”

O’Leary stated that because of blockchain technology, all of the exchange’s transactions “are 100% auditable”; and that once this audit is performed, the truth about FTX will come out. Then, if anyone broke the law, they’ll be prosecuted.

He argued that investors will be able to get back at least some of their money if an audit is performed.

“We’re going to get that money back,” he said. “That’s exactly what’s going to happen. I’m not the only institution in this situation. We all want our recovery path. We need a recovery path, but we don’t have one.”

Before its bankruptcy, FTX was the second-largest crypto exchange in the world by volume. But from Nov. 2 to 11, a series of events led to it being unable to process withdrawals. It subsequently filed for bankruptcy, and billions of dollars of investors’ capital are now tied up in these bankruptcy proceedings. Bankruptcy filings show that the company may have over 1 million creditors, of which Kevin O’Leary is one.

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