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“Investors were entitled to know”: SEC Punished Steven Seagal With $314K Fine for Asking His 535,000 Followers to Buy Bitcoin Offerings after Secret $1M Payment

"Investors were entitled to know": SEC Punished Steven Seagal With $314K Fine for Asking His 535,000 Followers to Buy Bitcoin Offerings after Secret $1M Payment

Making his silver screen debut with Andrew Davis’ 1988 crime action, Above the Law, Steven Seagal has had several run-ins with the law over the past few decades. The actor has not only grown to be one of the most controversial figures in Hollywood but has also been the subject of several lawsuits. In 2020, he was charged with unlawfully promoting cryptocurrency investment on his social media and was fined to pay over $300,000 to settle charges.

Read More: “He saw it over the weekend”: Steven Seagal’s Best Movie Helped Harrison Ford Make His $353M Oscar Nominated Film

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Steven Seagal Accused of Illegally Promoting Cryptocurrency

The Security and Exchange Commission charged the Hollywood actor Steven Seagal with unlawfully touting the cryptocurrency for the B2G, which said in a 2018 statement that the actor became a “believer” in and “brand ambassador” for the brand.

Steven Seagal
Steven Seagal

The SEC has stated that the social media promotions of stocks and investments by any celebrity or any other social media user would be considered unlawful if they failed to disclose the compensation they received for the endorsement. The 71-year-old actor also failed to disclose that he was promised to be paid in both cash and cryptocurrency for endorsing it online.

“Celebrities are not allowed to use their social media influence to tout securities without appropriately disclosing their compensation,” Kristina Littman, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, said. The martial artist reportedly promoted the cryptocurrency to his 6.7 million followers on Facebook and 535,000 followers on Instagram along with Twitter.

Steven Seagal, Martial artist and actor
Martial artist and actor Steven Seagal

None of these posts revealed that the actor was paid for the promotions. A spokesperson for the actor later revealed that his agreement with the company allowed people associated with the B2G to post on his social media. However, after he became concerned about its authenticity, he terminated his agreement with the company.

Read More: Steven Seagal Became “Arrogant” and a “Pain in the Neck” To Director Who Helped Launch His Hollywood Career With Hit Debut Film

Steven Seagal Was Charged to Pay $314,000 For Settlement

To promote the cryptocurrency on social media, Steven Seagal was promised to be paid a total of $1 million, including $250,000 in cash and $750,000 in Bitcoin tokens. However, he claimed that he was only paid a portion of the promised compensation, $157,000.

Steven Seagal in The Patriot (1998)
Steven Seagal in The Patriot (1998)

He agreed to pay back $157,000 with pre-judgmental interest along with a penalty of the same amount he received for the promotions, $314,000 in total. The Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit also said that the “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.”

The actor’s spokesperson stated that The Patriot actor considered it “a case of someone paying a celebrity for the use of his image to promote a product.” He also claimed that Seagal had been very cooperative with the investigation and had agreed to stay away from similar promotions for the next three years.

Read More: “Steven Seagal made his excuses and left”: Jean-Claude Van Damme and 12 Other Celebs Who Picked a Fight With the Russian Defector

Source: Variety

Written by Laxmi Rajput

Laxmi Rajput is a writer at Fandomwire. She finished her Post Graduation in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a Business News writer for a year. But her interest in entertainment and pop culture compelled her to find a way towards Entertainment Journalism. She has worked across various fields and has 2 years of experience in content writing. She likes reading, music, movies, and traveling. She aspires to become a fiction writer in the future.