Twitter reportedly paid a whistle-blower $7 million for his silence on company operations.
Bloomberg News reported Thursday that Tesla CEO Elon Musk is using the “hush money” transaction to bolster his claims that Twitter misled him and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the deal to purchase the platform for $44 billion.
“They’re paying the guy $7 million and making sure he’s quiet,” Musk attorney Alex Spiro alleged at the hearing, referencing whistle-blower Peiter Zatko.
Zatko went public with his claims that Twitter lacked sufficient security to protect privacy and data.
Musk wanted to add Zatko’s claims about Twitter to the case. Delaware Chancery Judge Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick allowed Musk to add Zatko’s allegations to his counterclaims but denied his request to delay the trial.
Twitter, meanwhile, tried to diminish Zatko’s credibility, alleging that he attacked the company just because he was fired. Spiro responded by saying that Zatko’s persistence to go forward to Congress with his claims, despite the reported payout offer, is evidence that he is being truthful.
“The problem is that they paid him $7 million,” Spiro told the judge. “The problem is that if he really wanted money, then how come he’s still doing this if he doesn’t want justice also.” Zatko is set to testify before a Senate committee next week and is expected to testify, as well.
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