Disgraced ‘crypto bro’ SBF to turn on celebrities Tom Brady and Larry David

Tom Brady and his now ex-wife Gisele Bundchen appeared in an FTX commercial in 2022 prior to the cryptocurrency firm’s collapse

Martha McHardy
Monday 22 April 2024 18:54 BST
Who is Sam Bankman-Fried? The FTX founder arrested in Bahamas

Disgraced “crypto king” Sam Bankman-Fried is set to turn on celebrities including Tom Brady and Larry David in a new class-action lawsuit after they endorsed his failed FTX cryptocurrency exchange.

Bankman-Fried is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence on fraud charges after he was found guilty of lying to investors and customers of his company FTX.

The 32-year-old had acquired mass wealth through FTX, which at its height was worth $32bn and had over one million users, but that all came crashing down in November 2022 when a CoinDesk report revealed that most of FTX’s assets were held by a quantitative trading company that he also ran called Alameda Research.

The revelation sent investors and customers scrambling to withdraw their funds, which later exposed an $8bn hole in the company.

Since then, a group of investors and customers have filed a class-action lawsuit against Bankman-Fried and the celebrities he recruited to endorse FTX, in an effort to recover some of their losses following the collapse of the crypto firm.

Sam Bankman-Fried is set to turn on some of the celebrities who supported his cryptocurrency exchange (AP)

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court’s Southern District of Florida, alleges that Bankman-Fried and celebrities including NFL star Tom Brady and comedian Larry David are responsible for around $11bn of losses to American consumers.

Brady and his now ex-wife Gisele Bundchen appeared in an FTX commercial in 2022. In the commercial, Brady was filmed at home calling around his friends to sign them up with FTX.

The company marketed the ad campaign with the slogan: “Tom Brady is in. Are you?”

Meanwhile, David starred in a multi-million-dollar Super Bowl ad for the company in which he rejected cryptocurrency before viewers were then told: “Don’t be like Larry.”

Tom Brady and now ex-wife Gisele Bundchen appeared in an FTX commercial in 2022 (YouTube/FTX Crypto)

Sports stars Stephen Curry, Shaquille O’Neal and Naomi Osaka are also among those named in the lawsuit after starring in commercials promoting FTX.

Bankman-Fried was also named in the lawsuit but, on Friday, agreed to cooperate with the plaintiffs in the case in exchange for them dropping their civil liability claims against him.

But the deal could see him turn against some of his celebrity backers.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are proposing that Bankman-Fried assists in prosecuting FTX influencers and aids in victim recovery by handing over all non-privileged documents and testimony provided during his criminal trial.

However, it is unclear what damages the celebrities might be liable for since they were paid by Bankman-Fried to boost the profile of his crypto empire.

Larry David starred in a multimillion dollar Super Bowl ad in which he rejected cryptocurrency (NBC)

The celebrities are described in the 41-page lawsuit as “parties who either controlled, promoted, assisted in, and actively participated in” FTX’s operations, allegedly in breach of Florida law.

The suit adds: “The Deceptive and failed FTX Platform was based upon false representations and deceptive conduct.

“Although many incriminating FTX emails and texts have already been destroyed, we located them and they evidence how FTX’s fraudulent scheme was designed to take advantage of unsophisticated investors from across the country, who utilize mobile apps to make their investments. As a result, American consumers collectively sustained over $11 billion dollars in damages.”

Bankman-Fried was convicted by a federal jury in New York in November 2023 on seven counts of fraud, embezzlement and criminal conspiracy.

In March, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $11.2bn.

During last month’s sentencing hearing, Bankman-Fried expressed regret about his firm’s demise.

“At the end of the day, I failed everyone that I care about and everything that I care about, too,” the 32-year-old said, just minutes before he was sentenced.

“My useful life is probably over. It’s been over for a while now.”

But, despite the so-called crypto king’s claims, the judge said he was yet to fully accept responsibility for his actions.

“Mistakes were made, but never a word of remorse for the commission of a terrible crime,” Judge Lewis Kaplan said as he handed down the sentence.

“Since the collapse of FTX, Mr Bankman-Fried has been singularly focused on returning the estate’s assets to customers, who could and should be made whole as of current prices,” said Mark Botnick, a spokesman for Bankman-Fried.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in