"Pretty good hourly wage."
While disgraced crypto baron Sam Bankman-Fried awaits his imminent trial this week in a Brooklyn jail cell, more details of his fallen FTX crypto exchange's backroom deals with celebrities are coming to light.
American journalist Michael Lewis recently got a glimpse of the exchange's internal marketing documents, which paint an eye-popping picture of just how much money the exchange was able to throw around.
In a CNBC interview, Lewis, whose upcoming book titled "Going Infinite" details Bankman-Fried's rise and fall, laid out just how much the company spent to get celebrities to shill for them — and the figures are staggering.
Bankman-Fried paid NFL quarterback legend Tom Brady "$55 million for 20 hours a year for three years," Lewis told CNBC's Jon Wertheim. "He paid Steph Curry $35 million for [the] same thing for three years."
"Pretty good hourly wage," Wertheim mused.
While Brady may have gotten a big paycheck for being an FTX brand ambassador at the time, the spectacular implosion of the exchange last year led to massive losses for the football star. According to internal documents revealed earlier this year, Brady owned just over 1.1 million common shares of FTX — which lost virtually all of their value following the exchange's collapse.
According to estimates, Brady lost almost $30 million, meaning that he may still have made a net profit.
Nonetheless, FTX's collapse may have led to a big falling out between Brady and SBF. The FTX co-founder "really liked Tom Brady," Lewis told CNBC, comparing their unusual relationship to "the class nerd and the quarterback."
"Brady was I think crushed," he continued, feeling "tricked" and "angry."
Apart from building up a who's-who of celebrity ambassadors including Brady's ex-wife Giselle Bündchen, Larry David, and Shaquille O'Neal, FTX's executives spent staggering sums on opulent mansions in the Bahamas and even racked up tens of thousands of dollars worth of bills at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.
Bankman-Fried used to joke "internally about their tendency to lose track of millions of dollars in assets," according to damning documents filed by debtors in April.
The 31-year-old crypto baron is now facing over 100 years in prison and has since pleaded not guilty to seven counts of fraud and conspiracy. He will stand trial later this week, with jury selection kicking off on Tuesday.
While he may not spend the rest of his days in prison, he's still facing a "very long sentence," according to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan.
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