SEC Charges Justin Sun With Securities Law Violation

SEC Charges Justin Sun With Securities Law Violation

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Other charges of “wash trading” and “bounty program” have also been brought against the TRON Foundation and its founder by the SEC. 

TRX Is Unregistered Securities: SEC

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently filed charges of securities law violation against TRON Foundation founder Justin Sun. The lawsuit has also named his other companies - BitTorrent and Rainberry Inc., along with Tron foundation for allegedly conducting the unregistered sale of what the SEC calls “crypto assets securities.” 

Although none of the court rulings have declared any cryptocurrency to be a security, the SEC has been determined to prove that it is so. The fact that Sun and his companies offered and sold the Tronix (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT) tokens to the public has rubbed the SEC the wrong way, as it claims that these tokens should have been first registered as securities. 

Charged With Wash Trading

The SEC has also alleged instances of extensive wash trading in these cases, where Sun and his companies tried to “fraudulently manipulate” the secondary market for TRX. This means that the defendants were simultaneously buying and selling the same crypto asset to dupe customers into believing that the platform experiences high volumes of trading activity. 

According to the regulatory body, employees at TRON Foundation conducted over 600,000 wash trades of TRX between the two accounts controlled by Sun himself. During this period, $4-6 million worth of TRX was washed daily under the direction of the CEO himself. 

SEC Alleges “Bounty Program”

To top it all off, the SEC also charged eight celebrities for promoting the TRX and BTT tokens through an illegal “bounty program.” This means they were incentivized with TRX and BTT distributions to promote the tokens on social media, recruit others to the token’s Telegram and Discord channels, and create BitTorrent accounts.

According to the SEC, these paid promotions did not disclose to the public the full nature of the incentivization received by the celebrities, and neither did they disclose the risks associated with such investments. 

The eight celebrities named in the charges are Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul, DeAndre Cortez Way (aka Soulja Boy), Austin Mahone, Michele Mason (Kendra Lust), Miles Parks McCollum (Lil Yachty), Shaffer Smith (Ne-Yo), and Aliaune Thiam (Akon). 

SEC Chair Claims Misconduct

SEC Chair Gary Gensler addressed the matter in his latest statement, 

“As alleged in the complaint, Sun and others used an age-old playbook to mislead and harm investors by first offering securities without complying with registration and disclosure requirements and then manipulating the market for those very securities. At the same time, Sun paid celebrities with millions of social media followers to tout the unregistered offerings, while specifically directing that they not disclose their compensation. This is the very conduct that the federal securities laws were designed to protect against regardless of the labels Sun and others used.”

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. 

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