Hollywood actor Steven Seagal agreed to settle Securities and Exchange Commission claims that he failed to disclose that he was being paid for promoting an initial coin offering conducted by a firm called Bitcoiin2Gen, or B2G.
Mr. Seagal was promised $250,000 in cash and $750,000 worth of B2G tokens for promotions including social media posts urging fans not to miss out on the firm’s initial coin offering and a press release identifying him as its brand ambassador, the SEC said in a statement Thursday.
Mr. Seagal agreed to settle without admitting or denying wrongdoing, and will pay a $157,000 fine and the same amount in disgorgement, the regulator said.
Mr. Seagal now lives in Moscow, according to the SEC’s order.
Celebrity endorsements of ICOs — in which companies raise money by selling digital tokens instead of shares — became increasingly common as Bitcoin surged to a record high in 2017. All the hype prompted the SEC to publicly warn that pitches could be unlawful if the famous backers’ compensation wasn’t disclosed.
In 2018, the SEC accused boxer Floyd Mayweather and music producer DJ Khaled of failing to disclose that they had received payments for hyping ICOs.
Mr. Mayweather, one of his sport’s most recognizable personalities, agreed to pay more than $600,000 to settle with the regulator, while DJ Khaled agreed to pay more than $150,000.