Judge orders Jay-Z to testify in SEC probe

A federal judge has ordered rapper Jay-Z to testify next week as part of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation into the sale of his clothing brand more than a decade ago.

U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe said during a hearing in Manhattan on Tuesday that the Grammy-winning artist, whose real name is Shawn Carter, had failed to respond to two SEC subpoenas and would be forced to testify on May 15, Reuters reported.

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“The testimony has been delayed for five months, and I do not intend to tolerate any further delay,” Gardephe said, according to Reuters.

The news comes just days after the SEC filed a request for an order seeking to enforce the subpoenas, including one from November and another from February.

Jay-Z sold his clothing brand Rocawear to Iconix Brand Group in 2007 for approximately $204 million, with the SEC saying it is looking into write-downs for the company totaling that sum. 

The SEC is probing whether Iconix violated trading laws related to financial reporting, and wants to question Jay-Z about his involvement with the company and its dealings with Rocawear.

Lawyers for the rapper had argued unsuccessfully that his testimony would impede his upcoming music tour and would not be relevant to the investigation, Reuters reported. They also want his testimony to be limited to a single day, while SEC investigators oppose a time limit.