(Reuters) – Elon Musk is the target of an investigation by the American stock market watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for his takeover of the social network Twitter, bought for $44 billion last year and renamed X since, shows a court document made public Thursday.

The SEC says it wants to obtain a court order to compel the businessman to respond to a subpoena.

She said Elon Musk did not show up for an audition, as agreed. The billionaire justified his decision by the SEC’s desire to “harass” him and by the time necessary for his lawyers to study potentially relevant press releases, declared the stock market watchdog.

The investigation concerns a possible violation by Elon Musk of stock market regulations last year when he took a minority stake in Twitter before becoming its buyer. It also concerns statements and documents filed with the SEC in connection with this transaction.

A lawyer for Elon Musk said in a statement that the SEC had already heard from his client “numerous times in this misguided investigation.” “Enough is enough,” added Alex Spiro.

The SEC and Elon Musk have had tense relations since 2018 and a tweet published at the time by the businessman to announce his desire to remove Tesla from the stock market, ensuring he had the necessary funds.

An SEC spokesperson declined a request for comment, referring to the court document.

Elon Musk revealed in April 2022 that he had taken a minority stake in Twitter. He had filed the regulatory documents to be submitted to the SEC late and had initially indicated that his aim was only to be a passive shareholder.

Several days later, the businessman accepted, then refused, a seat on the tech giant’s board of directors. He then announced, at the end of April 2022, his plan to buy Twitter, before attempting to reverse his proposal, criticizing the social network for its opacity regarding the number of ‘bot’ accounts active on the platform.

Under the threat of a lawsuit to force him to finalize the operation, Elon Musk completed the takeover of Twitter at the end of October 2022.

(Reporting Shivansh Tiwary in Bangalore, Tom Hals in Wilmington, Chris Prentice in New York, Michelle Price in Washington and Sheila Dang in Austin; Jean Terzian)

Copyright © 2023 Thomson Reuters