SEC Charges Justin Sun and Companies for Unregistered Sale of Crypto Asset Securities and Manipulation of TRX Trading

The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced charges against Justin Sun, a crypto asset entrepreneur, and his companies Tron Foundation Limited BitTorrent Foundation Ltd. and Rainberry Inc. These charges pertain to the sale of BitTorrent (BTT) and Tronix (TRX), crypto assets. Sun and Sun’s companies are also accused of manipulating TRX’s secondary market through wash trading. They have also orchestrated a scheme that paid celebrities to promote TRX or BTT without disclosing the compensation.

The SEC complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of New York alleges that Sun’s companies sold TRX and BTT through unregistered brokers. “bounty programs.” In exchange for TRX, BTT, and other tokens, these programs directed interested parties to spread the word on social media about the tokens, recruit others into Tron-affiliated channels and create BitTorrent account. In addition, the complaint states that Sun BitTorrent Foundation Rainberry sold BTT through unregistered monthly “airdrops” to investors including those from the United States.

According to the complaint these unregistered sales and offers violated Section 5 of Securities Act of 1933. Sun is accused by the SEC of violating various sections of Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1935, inflating artificially the TRX trading volume on the secondary market. Sun directed his employees, who were in control of two crypto-asset trading platforms, to wash trade TRX daily between the accounts. The scheme generated over $31 million in illegal, unregistered sales and offers of the token.

Along with the charges against Sun, his companies and celebrities DeAndre (Soulja Boy), Austin Mahone along with six other people were also charged by the SEC for illegally promoting TRX, BTT and/or BTT and failing to disclose their compensation. In its complaint, the SEC also accuses Justin Sun and Tron Foundation Limited as well as BitTorrent Foundation Ltd. and Rainberry Inc. for aiding and abetment of celebrities’ violations.

Adam B. Gottlieb was in charge of the SEC investigation, which was overseen by Paul Kim and Michael Brennan. Ann Rosenfield, John Lucas and John Marino conducted it. Timothy Halloran will lead SEC litigation, while Melissa Armstrong supervises.

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Securities and Exchange Commission is the regulatory agency that enforces and oversees securities laws in the United States. The primary purpose of the SEC is to protect investors and maintain fair, efficient, and transparent markets. SEC mandates that companies disclose relevant financial and other information, which promotes transparency and helps prevent fraud. The SEC also regulates securities professionals such as investment advisors, brokers, and dealers. The SEC is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the securities markets, and protecting investors.

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