A federal judge has ordered Jay-Z to appear in court next week to explain why he has been avoiding a subpoena related to a Securities and Exchange Commission probe into the company to which he sold his Rocawear clothing line.
Jay-Z sold his Rocawear brand and other assets to the Iconix Brand Group in a deal worth $204 million over a decade ago. The SEC is now investigating Iconix for potential violations of federal securities laws relating to their financial reporting.
According to The New York Post, the hip-hop mogul — real name Shawn Carter — has already ignored a pair of subpoenas related to the inquiry. “[Shawn] Carter failed to appear as required… and, through his counsel… has declined to provide any additional dates on which he will agree to appear,” the SEC told U.S. Judge Paul Gardephe.
The SEC stated their interest in Jay-Z’s testimony does not mean they have determined he “has violated provisions,” but they would still like to hear him talk about his “joint ventures with Iconix.”
Judge Gardephe has now instructed the “99 Problems” rapper to attend a New York courtroom on May 8 to explain himself. If Jay-Z does not have a reasonable excuse, he will have to appear before the SEC in Washington on May 11 and answer further questions related to the investigation, which could take many days.
A representative for Jay-Z issued a statement to CNBC: “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.”
Jay-Z himself is currently involved in a separate legal battle with Iconix regarding licensing agreement issues.