Jay-Z has told federal investigators that he can only testify for one day, otherwise he’s too busy preparing for a tour, TMZ is reporting.
For months now, federal investigators with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) have been trying to reach Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, and for months, he’s been dodging them. According to Bloomberg, Jay-Z’s first SEC subpoena came in November, 2017, which he promptly ignored. Why he was allowed to ignore it is unclear, but in February of this year, after he hired a new lawyer, he was subpoenaed again. He ignored that subpoena as well.
Now, Jay-Z appears to be cooperating somewhat. He’s agreed to appear in court this Tuesday, but he won’t be answering any questions about the very thing investigators want to ask him about. Rather, he’s going to have to explain to a judge why he’s dodged two subpoenas thus far. He’s also going to have to explain why he’s only planning on testifying for one day, May 11, the only day he’s agreed to give them.
Through his attorney, Jay-Z said that he’s preparing for a world tour in three weeks.
“[Time spent away from preparation] will impair the work of many individuals and entities who are preparing for the tour and will hinder my own work in preparation for the tour.”
Jay-Z subpoenaed after refusing to cooperate with SEC investigation into $200 million deal https://t.co/WjyrtmAtFO
— TIME (@TIME) May 3, 2018
Jay has found himself caught up in a federal investigation that his lawyers insist has nothing to do with him. Back in 1999, he and his partner, Roc-A-Fella Records co-founders Damon “Dame” Dash, created the urban clothing line Rocawear. In 2007, they sold it to Iconix Brand Group, a “brand management company” that licenses brands to retailers and manufacturers in the clothing and footwear industries, for over $200 million. Jay-Z remains active in the Rocawear brand, however, continuing to be involved in its marketing, licensing, and product development.
In 2016, and again in March of this year, Iconix publicly reduced the estimated value of the Rocawear brand, by $169 million in 2016 and again by $34 million this year.
SEC investigators have some questions about that deal and subsequent reporting, and Jay-Z is on the list of people they’d like to talk to about it.
His lawyers, however, insist that this is all above Jay-Z’s pay grade.
“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.”
As of this writing, it is unclear if federal investigators are willing to allow Jay-Z to testify for only day, like he requested.