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SEC’s demands to question Jay-Z turning into a “celebrity hunt”

By | Published on Tuesday 8 May 2018


A lawyer working for Jay-Z has questioned whether an investigation by the US Securities & Exchange Commission into one of the rapper’s business partners has become something of a “celebrity hunt” as they seek to force a testimony out of his client.

The SEC is investigating allegations that a company called Iconix – which has had an interest in Jay-Z’s Rocawear fashion brand since 2007 – may have broken financial reporting rules. It has been trying to subpoena the rapper – aka Shawn Carter, for subpoena purposes – since last November, so to question him about his business partner.

For his part, Carter has been trying to avoid testifying about Iconix, insisting he has no knowledge of the company’s finances or reporting practices, and therefore nothing of value to contribute to the SEC’s investigation. Last week a US court told Carter that he must testify as to why he shouldn’t be forced to testify.

In new legal papers filed yesterday, Carter’s legal rep says his client is actually happy to answer the SEC’s questions, but the issue is that investigators want unlimited time with the rapper. And he, let’s not forget, is a very busy man. Very busy. Busy, busy, busy. For starters, he’s got a 45 date world tour coming up.

Attorney Alex Spiro wrote in his court filing that his client has agreed to attend one day of questioning, but “the SEC continues to insist on meeting Mr Carter in person for an unlimited period of time”.

Given Carter’s limited knowledge of the company being investigated, Spiro continues: “The upshot imposes unreasonable burdens on Mr Carter and raises serious questions about whether this exercise has transcended any investigative purpose and crossed over into a celebrity hunt”.

The SEC’s top celebrity hunters – I mean legal reps – should respond to Spiro’s arguments later today.