A federal judge has mandated Elon Musk to testify once again in the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s investigation into his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, setting a deadline for both parties to finalise the details of the interview.
This is based on a Reuters report.
US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler’s ruling, issued over the weekend, reinforces her previous stance in December, favouring the regulator’s request for Musk’s testimony.
In October, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Musk, seeking his testimony as part of its inquiry into his acquisition of Twitter in 2022, which he later rebranded as X.
Musk had declined to attend an interview in September, prompting the SEC to escalate the matter.
The investigation centres on whether Musk adhered to legal requirements regarding disclosures of his Twitter stock purchases and the veracity of his statements related to the deal.
Judge Beeler’s order comes after Musk contested the SEC’s attempts to interview him, alleging harassment and citing previous interactions with the regulator.
However, Beeler dismissed Musk’s argument, asserting the SEC’s authority to issue subpoenas for pertinent information.
She emphasised the relevance of the subpoena in the ongoing investigation.
Should Musk and the SEC fail to reach a consensus on the interview logistics, Judge Beeler retains the authority to intervene and make a decision on their behalf.
The conflict between Musk and the SEC traces back to 2018 when the regulator sued him over a tweet suggesting Tesla’s privatisation with “funding secured.”
Subsequently, Musk agreed to have his Tesla-related tweets scrutinised by company lawyers to settle the matter.
However, the SEC reignited legal proceedings in 2019, alleging Musk’s failure to comply with this arrangement.
Musk has sought recourse from the US Supreme Court, challenging the terms of the agreement on grounds of infringement of his constitutional right to free speech.
(With inputs from Reuters)