Steven Seagal has been ordered to pay over $330,000 after failing to disclose he was being paid to promote a cryptocurrency.
The 67-year-old actor used social media posts in early 2018 to urge followers not to "miss out" on Bitcoiin2Gen's initial coin offering but failed to mention he'd been promised $250,000 in cash and $750,000 in Bitcoiin2Gen tokens in exchange for his recommendations, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in an order issued on Thursday (27.02.20).
The omission from the 'Under Seige' actor violated federal laws that require celebrities and others who promote virtual tokens or coins that are securities to disclose any compensation they receive for doing so.
Kristina Littman, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division's Cyber Unit, said: "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.
"Celebrities are not allowed to use their social media influence to tout securities without appropriately disclosing their compensation."
Steven did not admit or deny the SEC's findings but has agreed to pay £330,448 in repayment of the funds he received, as well as a penalty and prejudgment interest. He has also agreed not to promote any securities for the next three years.
Defense attorney Ivan Knauer said in a statement: "Mr. Seagal was not involved in the creation of this product, nor did he have any prior relationship with the individuals who approached him.
"To him, it was simply a case of someone paying a celebrity for the use of his image to promote a product.
"Mr. Seagal cooperated fully with the SEC's investigation, and this matter is now behind him. He looks forward to continuing his life's work as an actor, musician, martial artist and diplomat."
Bitcoiin2Gen are an international online company who describe themselves as the "world's first self-sufficient cryptocurrency eco-system."