A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z to testify as part of a securities investigation into a company that paid him more than $200 million in 2007 for assets including some related to the Rocawear brand.
During months of back and forth in response to subpoenas, lawyers for Jay-Z sought to limit his testimony in the case. They said that he had been on tour when his testimony was first requested and that he was now preparing for another.
Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed court papers asking that a judge order Jay-Z, whose actual name is Shawn Carter, to comply with a subpoena to testify. In their most recent response, the lawyers sought to limit any testimony to a single day. But the S.E.C. resisted limits, and the judge sided with its lawyers.
“I’m granting the S.E.C.’s application to enforce the subpoena,” Judge Paul G. Gardephe of Federal District Court in Manhattan, said in court Tuesday. “The testimony has been delayed for five months, and I do not intend to tolerate any further delay.”
The S.E.C. is investigating whether federal securities laws were violated in connection with Iconix Brand Group Inc.’s “reporting of intangible assets, including the Rocawear assets.” Iconix wrote down the Rocawear brand by about $169 million for the year ending 2015 and by about $34 million for the year ending in 2017.
The government wrote that after the sale, Iconix reported that Mr. Carter remained involved with the Rocawear brand and that he and Iconix maintained certain business partnerships. The S.E.C. said that it wanted to question him about, among other things, the value of the Rocawear trademark; his involvement with the brand after the sale; and “multiple emails, meetings and phone calls related to Iconix.”
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