Elon Musk refuses to testify over his Twitter acquisition in 2022
Elon Musk on Thursday asked a federal judge not to force him to testify in the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation into his $44 billion acquisition of the social network Twitter.
Musk filed the objections in federal court in San Francisco, where the SEC sued him on October 5 to force him to testify for the investigation, which began in April 2022.
The SEC's subpoena exceeds the agency's investigative authority, is overly burdensome and seeks "irrelevant evidence," Musk's lawyers said in the filing.
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The SEC has said that is investigating Musk's Twitter stock purchases in 2022 and his statements and presentations related to the company, now called X.
Musk declined to attend an interview in September for the investigation.
Alex Spiro, Musk's lawyer, called the investigation "misguided." On Thursday, Spiro and Musk's other lawyers said in the filing:
"The SEC's pursuit of Mr. Musk has crossed the line into harassment."
The agency has previously said that It is within your authority to seek additional testimony and that he has received new documents in the investigation since the last time he interviewed him.
On April 4, 2022, Musk revealed that he had acquired a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter. It had been 11 days since the SEC deadline for such disclosures. Musk initially said that he planned to be a passive shareholder, meaning he did not plan to take over the company.
Later that month, he announced plans to buy Twitter for $44 billion. He subsequently attempted to get out of the deal, claiming that Twitter was not disclosing the full extent of bot activity on its platform.
After being sued to complete the deal, Musk closed the acquisition of Twitter at the end of October 2022.
Musk provided the SEC with documents related to the investigation and provided testimony in July last year via video conference, the SEC said in a court filing. But SEC lawyers said they have more questions for Musk after seeing the documents.
The SEC has spent 18 months "devoting its formidable resources to investigating Mr. Musk for an allegedly ill-timed filing," according to the document.
"This is just the latest chapter in a more than five-year saga of agency harassment against Mr. Musk and related entities."
The court battle reflects the bitter relationship between the US market regulator and Muskthe richest person in the world.
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The SEC sued Musk in 2018 over his social media posts saying he had "funding secured" to acquire electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc. Musk reached a settlement, but the regulator sued him again in 2019 alleging he had violated the terms.
With information from Reuters.
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