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Jay-Z to testify as to why he shouldn’t testify about Rocawear business partner

By | Published on Friday 4 May 2018


Jay-Z is due to appear in court next week where he is being forced to testify as to why he shouldn’t be forced to testify. The court appearance relates to a Securities & Exchange Commission investigation into a company called Iconix Brand Group Inc, which has had an interest in the rapper’s Rocawear fashion brand since 2007.

The SEC is investigating allegations that Iconix may have broken financial reporting rules. It has been trying to subpoena Jay-Z – aka Shawn Carter, for subpoena purposes – since last November, seeking to force the rapper to provide testimony about his partnerships with Iconix as part of its ongoing investigation.

So far Carter has been doing a good job of avoiding that task, pissing off SEC officials in the process. The US government regulator said this week: “Carter failed to appear as required by the subpoenas and, through his counsel, Carter has declined to provide any additional dates on which he will agree to appear for investigative testimony”. To that end, the SEC has asked US District Judge Paul Gardephe to order Carter to answer its questions.

Carter’s people counter that how Iconix chooses to report its finances to investors is nothing to do with their client, who therefore has no information to share that will help with the SEC’s investigation.

One rep stated yesterday: “We are aware that the SEC is seeking information on Iconix’s financial reporting. Mr Carter had no role in that reporting or Iconix’s other actions as a public company. Mr Carter is a private citizen who should not be involved in this matter”.

For its part, the SEC said that its efforts to subpoena Carter do not mean it is suggesting he or his staff have violated any securities laws, however it feels he might have useful information to help them understand the inner workings of the Iconix business.

Plus it would give an otherwise dry investigation a little celebrity sparkle. Although they didn’t say that bit. Instead they said that forcing Carter to testify is “appropriate where the information sought from the witness is relevant to the investigation”.

Fully aware that Carter isn’t keen to testify before the SEC, Gardephe instead ordered the rapper to testify before his court next Tuesday, where he will have the opportunity to testify as to why he shouldn’t be forced to testify. It will be quite the testimony. Which may or may not result in a testimony. Fun times!