Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary hits back at Binance CEO’s ‘liar’ comment – Markets Insider

  • Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary said Changpeng Zhao was wrong to call him a “liar” in a recent interview to CNBC.
  • The Binance CEO previously deflected O’Leary’s claims that Binance intentionally put FTX out of business, calling them “nonsense.”
  • But O’Leary says he didn’t perjure himself in front of Senate and doubled down on his claims.

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Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary hit back against Changpeng Zhao calling him a “liar,” referring to a recent interview where the Binance CEO called O’Leary’s claims at a Senate hearing this week “nonsense.”

O’Leary testified in front of the Senate Banking Committee on the fallout of FTX, the now-defunct crypto exchange for which O’Leary was a paid spokesperson. While its bankruptcy has shed light on numerous accounting scandals, O’Leary suggested that the downfall of the exchange was spurred by Binance selling its 20% stake in the firm back to Sam Bankman-Fried in late 2021.

That blew a major hole in FTX’s balance sheet, and was the starting force that caused the troubled crypto exchange to go under, O’Leary alleged.

Binance’s CZ disputed those claims in an interview with CNBC on Thursday, adding that O’Leary’s claims “don’t make sense.” He also noted that O’Leary was speaking to Sam Bankman-Fried up to the point of his arrest on Tuesday, which suggests the two had a “special relationship,” CZ said.

“Yesterday on the air, CZ called me a liar. That suggests I perjured myself in front of the US Senate for two hours this week. I can assure you that’s not the case,” O’Leary said to CNBC on Friday. 

O’Leary, who said he lost $10 million amid FTX’s implosion, doubled down on his claims Binance wouldn’t provide data that would clear FTX for a license and force Bankman-Fried to buy out its stake, in order for Binance to take down one of its largest competitors. 

“You ask anybody why was Sam Bankman-Fried or the whole company FTX forced into bankruptcy? It was jamming down that last half a billion that gave them no option,” O’Leary said, referring to Binance’s stake. “Now is that the fatal stroke or blow to get rid of your global competitor? I say yes.”

The rival crypto exchange has been under mounting scrutiny as FTX sorts out its finances, as FTX sought out an acquisition from Binance last month before declaring bankruptcy. US prosecutors have been investigating Binance for money laundering and other criminal activity, and the exchange briefly froze withdrawals as customers raced to pull out their money, though CZ assured investors customer deposits are fully backed.

O’Leary speculated regulators start looking at Binance as they continue probing FTX, adding he received a text from a lobbyist in Washington asking him to stay in the area.

“So I bet CZ bought himself an invitation to Washington yesterday. Can’t wait to meet him there. We can go sightseeing,” O’Leary said.

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