Actor Steven Seagal was KOed by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 27, agreeing to a $314,000 fine for promoting an initial coin offering.
Seagal, known for his martial arts movies, was accused of failing to disclose that he was paid to promote the Bitcoiin2Gen ICO in February and March 2018, the SEC said in a release.
Along with tweeting out advice encouraging followers not to “miss out” the actor said he was “excited about the management, and especially about the secure blockchain, underlying mining technology, and safeguards,” according to the SEC complaint. That release did not state that he was paid to promote it.
“These investors were entitled to know about payments Seagal received or was promised to endorse this investment so they could decide whether he may be biased,” said Kristina Littman, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit. “Celebrities are not allowed to use their social media influence to tout securities without appropriately disclosing their compensation.”
Segal joins Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khalid, who also settled with the SEC for touting cryptocurrency ICOs. And many other stars, from boxer/politician Manny Pacquiao to English football star Michael Owen are launching their own fan tokens. Recently, an unscrupulous coin promoter appropriated Mike Tyson’s endorsement without the boxing champion’s permission
While he did not admit to any wrongdoing, Seagal agreed to “disgorge” the $157,000 he was paid, as well as paying a $157,000 fine, the agency said. He was promised $250,000 plus $750,000 in B2G cryptocurrency tokens.
The actor also agreed not to promote any digital or traditional securities for three years.
Along with a press release titled “Zen Master Steven Seagal Has Become the Brand Ambassador of Bitcoiin2Gen” he tweeted about it several times, the agency said.
On March 6, 2018 Seagal tweeted: “Friends, I wanted to announce that @Bitcoiin2Gen will soon be listed on some of the biggest exchanges globally. Stay tuned for more information coming very shortly.”
After rising as high as $0.64 on Feb. 9, 2019, bitcoiin (B2G) fell dramatically, dropping from $0.37 to $0.04 between July 11-17, according to CoinMarketCap. At press time, it was $0.000175.