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Twitter Claims Elon Musk Is Being Investigated By the Federal Government, but Musk's Attorney Says Twitter Is the One Under Investigation "No, you're under federal investigation!" "No, you are!"

By Gabrielle Bienasz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Twitter claimed in a court filing released Thursday that Elon Musk was being investigated by some entity in the federal government over his bid to buy the social media company.

(It's unclear what federal entity the company is referring to.)

"Elon Musk is presently under investigation by federal authorities for his conduct in connection with the acquisition of Twitter," Twitter's lawyers said, according to CNBC.

The document was filed on October 6 but was first reported this week. Twitter said it had been trying to obtain documentation related to the investigation, and that Musk's legal team had cited "investigative privilege," and won't hand it over.

A Musk attorney, Alex Spiro, fired back in a statement shared with Entrepreneur, saying Twitter was the one actually being investigated.

"It is Twitter's executives that are under federal investigation," he said via email, calling the company's move a "misdirection."

This adds a new dimension to the ongoing saga between Elon Musk and Twitter. The billionaire started making moves toward Twitter by buying a large stake of the company. But, by mid-April, he had announced he would purchase it outright, and the agreement was signed later that month.

He then told Twitter he was backing out of the deal on July 8. Leading up to that, he had Tweeted about what he said was a bot problem on the platform.

The Securities and Exchange Commission sent him a letter inquiring about the Tweet, however. The FTC and SEC declined to comment to Entrepreneur as to whether or not they are investigating the billionaire.

"The SEC does not comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation," the spokesperson added.

However, it's worth noting that Musk's legal team cited drafts of an email from mid-May to the SEC and a slideshow presentation to the FTC in its list of documents they claim to have investigative privilege over.

Musk also, separately, tried to get a judge to end a rule that requires a lawyer to review his Tesla Tweets, claiming, among other things, the SEC has used the judgment to investigate him willy-nilly.

The SEC has strict rules about how and when public companies and those who lead them can share information. It has frequently conflicted with Musk's free-wheeling Twitter style.

Regardless, Twitter took him to court to complete the acquisition. Then, Musk changed course again earlier this month and said he would buy the company for the original $44 billion dollar price.

The judge stopped the case for the moment and gave him until October 28 to come up with the money again.

In addition to acquiring — or trying to — a social media company at home, the billionaire also has things going on abroad.

CNN first reported Thursday that Musk wanted the Pentagon to start paying for him to provide his satellite internet service, Starlink, in the country.

The Ukrainian army has relied on it to communicate amid the invasion of Russia since Musk sent Starlink terminals there in the spring, the outlet added. More recently, Musk has also sparred about the conflict online.

Musk has said the internet effort has cost the company $80 million so far this year. People on the ground have also reported outages in Starlink, hurting Ukrainian forces, the outlet added, which Musk did not push back against in a Tweet about the issue.

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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