A Chinese Bitcoin entrepreneur with ties to Jack Ma issued a long, groveling apology on Thursday for “excessive self-promotion” after he bragged about a planned lunch with Warren Buffett.
Justin Sun, the 29-year-old founder of a cryptocurrency startup who is also CEO of music-and-movies pirating Web site BitTorrent, won a May 31 charity auction by bidding a record $4.6 million to have lunch with the Oracle of Omaha this week.
The lunch had been slated for Thursday at Smith & Wollensky’s steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan.
But it got canceled after Sun made a bizarre series of posts about health concerns, claiming on Tuesday that he was suffering from kidney stones, only to say he was feeling better the next day.
Around that same time, executives from Sun’s cryptocurrency company, Tron, were detained by Chinese authorities until Sun agreed to postpone the meeting, according to Bloomberg.
Sun had been tweeting in recent weeks about inviting other Bitcoin enthusiasts to the lunch in a bid to convince Buffett to relinquish his skepticism about the controversial digital currency.
But on Thursday, Sun released a statement that read like it could have been written by an official of the Chinese Communist Party, which has lately cracked down on Bitcoin, a popular tool for moving cash out of the country.
“My intention of having the lunch with Buffett was because of my admiration for him and my enthusiasm for charity,” Sun wrote on Weibo, a Chinese service like Twitter.
“But my immature, naive, and impulsive conducts with my big mouth have turned it into an out-of-control and failed over-marketing hype and led to a significant series of unexpected consequences.”
It was unclear whether the lunch has been postponed or canceled outright. Sun and his company didn’t respond to requests for comment. Reps for Buffett’s firm Berkshire Hathaway didn’t return a request for comment.
Sun has also been reportedly under investigation by Chinese regulators for self-dealing and money laundering, a claim he’s denied.