Elon Musk’s $44bn (£36bn) takeover of Twitter is under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and he could be compelled to testify.
According to court filings on Thursday, the case centres around concerns the world’s richest man broke federal security laws in 2022, when he bought Twitter stock.
The investigation is also looking into statements and SEC filings he made in relation to the deal.
The latest development marks the continuation of a long-running feud between the SEC and Mr Musk.
The SEC – which said on Thursday it is seeking a court order to compel Mr Musk to testify – said it subpoenaed Mr Musk in May 2023, requiring him to give testimony at the SEC’s San Francisco office.
Mr Musk had agreed to appear on 15 September, the SEC said, but two days beforehand he raised “several spurious objections” and said he would not appear.
Among his objections was that the SEC was trying to “harass” him and that his counsel needed time to review potentially relevant material in a biography of Mr Musk, according to the SEC.
The filing states Mr Musk has given the SEC documents relating to the investigation and gave testimony in July last year in a video conference.
Alex Spiro, representing Mr Musk, said: “The SEC has already taken Mr Musk’s testimony multiple times in this misguided investigation – enough is enough.”
The SEC says it seeks his testimony “to obtain information not already in the SEC’s possession that is relevant to its legitimate and lawful investigation”.
Mr Musk bought Twitter after building a large minority stake in April last year in the social media platform, which he has renamed X.
He was late with the disclosure filing and initially indicated he planned to be a passive stakeholder – meaning he did not plan to take over Twitter or influence its management decisions.
He then accepted and then turned down a board seat at Twitter just days later.
In late April, he announced plans to buy the company for $44bn, but subsequently tried to get out of the deal, alleging Twitter was not disclosing the full extent of bot activity on its platform.
Faced with a trial to compel him to complete the deal, Mr Musk completed the purchase of Twitter in October 2022.