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Elon Musk is under federal investigation, Twitter states in the lawsuit

WILMINGTON, Del., Oct 13 (Reuters) – Elon Musk is being investigated by federal authorities over his conduct in his $44 billion takeover deal for Twitter Inc ( TWTR.N ), the social media company said in a court filing made public Thursday.

While the filing said he was under investigation, it did not say what the exact focus of the probes was or which federal agencies are conducting them.

Twitter, which sued Musk in July to force him to end the deal, said lawyers for the Tesla Inc ( TSLA.O ) chief executive had claimed “investigative privilege” when they refused to hand over documents it had requested.

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In late September, Musk’s lawyers had provided a “privilege log” identifying documents to be withheld, Twitter said. The log referenced drafts of a May 13 email to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a slide presentation to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The lawsuit, which asked a Delaware judge to order Musk’s lawyers to turn over the documents, was filed Oct. 6 — the same day the judge halted litigation between the two sides after Musk reversed course and said he would proceed with the case. deal.

“This game of ‘hide the ball’ must end,” the company said in the lawsuit.

Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Musk, told Reuters that Twitter’s lawsuit was a “misdirection.” Twitter declined to comment on Spiro’s response and Reuters’ questions about its understanding of any investigation into Musk.

The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and the FTC declined to comment.

The SEC has questioned Musk’s comments about the Twitter acquisition. In April, the SEC asked Musk whether the disclosure of his 9% Twitter stake was late and why it indicated he intended to be a passive shareholder. Musk later retweeted the disclosure to indicate he was an active investor.

In June, the SEC asked Musk in a letter whether he should have amended his public filing to reflect his intention to suspend or abandon the deal.

The Information, a tech news site, reported in April that the FTC was investigating whether Musk failed to comply with an antitrust reporting requirement when he amassed his stake in Twitter.

Twitter said in June that the takeover deal with Musk had approved an antitrust waiting period for review by the FTC and the US Department of Justice. read more

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Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware, Sheila Dang in Dallas and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Editing by Chris Reese and Edwina Gibbs

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tom Hals

Thomson Reuters

Award-winning reporter with more than two decades of experience in international news, focusing on high profile legal battles over everything from government policy to corporate deals.

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