Steven Seagal fined in United States over cryptocurrency promotion

Lula Sharp
February 27, 2020

The 67-year-old actor and martial arts exponent's promotions also included a news release titled: Zen Master Steven Seagal Has Become the Brand Ambassador of Bitcoiin2Gen, the SEC said.

Under siege by a U.S. regulator, former action film star Steven Seagal has agreed to pay more than US$330,000 (NZ$522,000) for touting an initial coin offering without revealing he was getting paid for his glowing recommendations.

In March 2018, Steven Seagal was contracted by ICO project "Bitcoiin2Gen" (B2G) to promote the sale on his social media channels, as well as appearing as a brand ambassador in the project's marketing materials.

While he was promised $250,000 in cash and $750,000 in B2G tokens, the February 27 disclosure by the SEC maintains that he only received $157,000 from his promotional deal. Seagal said he "wholeheartedly" endorsed Bitcoiin2Gen. The SEC has also advised that, in accordance with the anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws, any celebrity or other individual who promotes a virtual token or coin that is a security must disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion.

The SEC has previously said that celebrities and others using social media to encourage people to buy stocks and other investments may be unlawful if they don't disclose details about compensation they receive for any endorsement.

Bitcoiin2Gen pledged to pay Seagal $250,000 in cash and $750,000 in its cryptocurrency tokens for promoting the coin, but Seagal only received about $157,000, SEC officials said.

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Bitcoiin2Gen and representatives for Seagal did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

As part of the deal, the actor has agreed not to promote any securities for three years. The SEC press release states that "without admitting or denying the SEC's findings, Seagal agreed to pay $157,000 in disgorgement, which represents his actual promotional payments, plus prejudgment interest, and a $157,000 penalty".

Seagal is a U.S. national who now lives in Russian Federation, according to the SEC order.

For Steven Seagal, he wishes the SEC was as fake as these fighters he faced in Russian Federation.

In 2018, he was embroiled in a sexual assault saga when two women came forward with allegations against the star. In a statement at the time, Seagal attorney Anthony Falangetti called the allegations "completely fictitious".

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