The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission revealed previously undisclosed charges against Steven Seagal for withholding information about upwards of $300,000 in promotional payments he made in relation to cryptocurrency.
On Thursday, the SEC announced it had settled charges against the 67-year-old actor for failing to disclose payments he received for promoting an investment in an initial coin offering (ICO) conducted by Bitcoiin2Gen (B2G), according to a press release.
The SEC found that the Above the Law star was promoting the investment on his social media accounts in exchange for $250,000 in cash and $750,000 worth of B2G tokens, all of which he failed to disclose.
Seagal’s promotions included posts telling the public not to “miss out” on Bitcoiin2Gen’s ICO as well as a press release titled “Zen Master Steven Seagal Has Become the Brand Ambassador of Bitcoiin2Gen,” in which he asserted he endorsed the investments “wholeheartedly,” the SEC reported.
“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,” Kristina Littman, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit said in the release. “Celebrities are not allowed to use their social media influence to tout securities without appropriately disclosing their compensation.”
In accordance with anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws, the SEC has also advised that “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.”
While the actor did not confirm or deny the SEC’s findings, he agreed to pay back the $157,000 he already received, plus pre-judgmental interest and a $157,000 penalty, totaling to $314,000, the release noted.
Seagal has also agreed to stay away from any promotions related to securities, digital or otherwise, for the next three years.
The recent charges against the actor follow the many sexual assault allegations made against him over the years.
Seagal has been accused of rape and sexual harassment by several women including Portia de Rossi, Julianna Margulies, Jenny McCarthy and Inside Edition correspondent Lisa Guerrero.
Seagal has since denied all of the allegations.
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