Judge Orders Jay-Z to Testify About Rocawear Sale

SEC demands rapper appear in court to discuss 'joint ventures' with the Iconix Brand Group

A New York judge ordered Jay-Z to appear in court to talk about the connection between Rocawear and the Iconix Brand Group. Credit: Carl Timpone/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subpoenaed Jay-Z on Thursday, ordering him to testify in court about the accounting practices of Iconix Brand Group Inc., Reuters reports. Iconix bought Jay-Z's Rocawear brand in 2007 for $200 million; the SEC has been investigating Iconix since 2015 for allegedly violating federal securities law.

Jay-Z has already ignored a pair of subpoenas related to the SEC's inquiry, according to The New York Post. "[Shawn] Carter failed to appear as required … and, through his counsel … has declined to provide any additional dates on which he will agree to appear," the SEC told U.S. Judge Paul Gardephe. The SEC added that their interest in Jay-Z's testimony "does not reflect a determination" that he "has violated provisions of the federal securities laws at issue in the investigation," but they are still interested in hearing him discuss his "joint ventures with Iconix."

After the SEC presented their request, Judge Gardephe ordered Jay-Z to appear in court this Tuesday, May 8th, to "explain why he shouldn't have to testify." 

In a statement to CNBC, a spokesperson for Jay-Z said, "Mr. Carter had no role in [Iconix's financial] reporting or Iconix's other actions as a public company." The spokesperson added, "Mr. Carter is a private citizen who should not be involved in this matter."

Jay-Z was also hit with a lawsuit on Thursday, according to Reuters. He is being sued by a Swedish law firm alleging that S. Carter Enterprises still owes it money for work performed in 2015 related to Carter's purchase of the Swedish company Aspiro AB, which owned the streaming service Tidal.