Elon Musk ordered to testify again in US SEC probe of Twitter takeover

FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Musk leaves the company’s local office in Washington

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -A federal court ordered on Tuesday that Elon Musk must testify again in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's investigation into his $44 billion takeover of Twitter.

The SEC sued Musk in October to compel the CEO of electric carmaker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX to testify after he refused to attend a September interview for the investigation. The billionaire said the SEC was trying to "harass" him with a number of subpoenas.

The investigation concerns whether Musk broke federal securities laws in 2022 when he bought stock in Twitter, which he later renamed X. It is also reviewing statements and SEC filings he made in relation to the deal, the agency has previously said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in February ruled in favor of the agency to compel the deposition and Musk requested a review of the decision.

"As Judge Beeler explained, the investigations Musk contends constitute harassment are 'legitimate government investigations'," U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley said on Tuesday.

"Musk has not met his burden of demonstrating the subpoena is unreasonable."

This marks the latest dispute in a years-long feud between Musk and the top U.S. markets regulator, dating back to 2018 when he tweeted that he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private.

In 2022, Musk supplied the SEC with documents for its probe and also testified via videoconference for two half-day sessions in July of that year, the SEC has said in court documents. Agency lawyers have said they have more questions for Musk after receiving new documents, and had sought additional testimony.

Musk was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Mike Scarcella; Editing by Sandra Maler and David Gregorio)