Supermodel Gisele Bündchen said she was “blindsided” by the shocking implosion of FTX — despite the fact she had been tapped as a high-profile pitchwoman for the doomed crypto exchange.
Bündchen, 42, broke her silence on FTX’s collapse into bankruptcy for the first time in a cover story for Vanity Fair released Wednesday — even as disgraced founder Sam Bankman-Fried awaits trial for allegedly bilking customers out of billions of dollars.
“I was blindsided,” Bündchen said in the interview. “I’m no different than everyone else that trusted the hype.”
Bündchen said she believed FTX was a “sound and great thing based on what my financial advisers told me.”
The supermodel — who famously had appeared alongside Bankman-Fried to discuss the cryptocurrency industry’s sustainability efforts at the Salt Crypto Bahamas Conference last spring — signaled she supports authorities in their effort to crack down on those responsible for FTX’s downfall.
“It’s just … terrible,” Bündchen said. “I’m so sorry for all of us that this happened, and I just pray that justice gets made.”
Bündchen, who also had been been given the title of environmental and social initiatives head at FTX, reportedly declined to discuss the situation in more detail for legal reasons.
Bündchen’s front-and-center involvement drew immediate scrutiny once the feds exposed alleged malfeasance at FTX. Bankman-Fried is under house arrest ahead of a highly anticipated trial slated for October.
Bündchen and her ex-husband, NFL legend Tom Brady, were key FTX brand ambassadors prior to its downfall — at one point even appearing in a commercial together in which they urged everyday people such as plumbers and doctors to invest in cryptocurrency.
Brady and Bündchen are each listed as defendants in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of FTX customers who lost money in the collapse. Critics have argued FTX used the star power of celebrity backers to lure the public into using its platform.
The former couple received sizable equity stakes in FTX, which once drew a whopping $32 billion valuation.
In January, court filings revealed that Bündchen and Brady were among FTX’s largest individual equity holders. Bündchen held more than 686,000 common shares of FTX at the time of its collapse, while Brady held a larger stake of more than 1.1 million common shares.
Bündchen’s FTX stake was worth approximately $25 million, according to Forbes estimates published last November based on documents that Bankman-Fried once provided to the outlet.
Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison on various fraud charges after he allegedly siphoned customer funds to support a lavish lifestyle and prop up risky bets at his crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research.
Several former FTX and Alameda executives, including Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison, have flipped on him and are cooperating with authorities.
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