Rapper Jay-Z was ordered by a New York judge on Thursday to appear in court next week to explain why he has refused to comply with a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of an investigation.
Judge Paul Gardephe in the Southern District of New York told the hip-hop mogul to show up in court on May 8. The SEC wants to talk to Jay-Z — whose birth name is Shawn Carter — as part of its probe of financial reports filed by Iconix Brand Group, Inc., a New York-based company that paid him more than $200 million to acquire intangible assets from an urban apparel company he co-founded.
The agency sought the court order in connection with its investigation of potential violations of securities laws involving Iconix, once a high-flying, brand-management company whose stock has collapsed amid earnings restatements and the SEC investigation. Jay-Z has formed partnerships with the company.
In 2007, Iconix, which owns London Fog, Ecko and other clothing lines, bought the apparel company Rocawear that Jay-Z started in 1999. The singer is embroiled in a lawsuit with Iconix, which alleges he violated the terms of the deal.
The SEC said it wants Jay-Z to testify about his joint ventures with Iconix, adding that he is not accused of any wrongdoing.
The agency initially issued a subpoena for his testimony on Nov. 16, 2017. On Feb. 23, 2018, after he retained new counsel, the SEC issued a second subpoena for him to testify.
He failed to appear as required by the subpoenas and, through his counsel, has declined to provide any additional dates on which he will agree to appear for investigative testimony, the SEC said.
Jana Fleishman, a spokeswoman for Jay-Z, said the superstar performer, who is married to Beyoncé, has nothing to do with this case.
“We are aware that the SEC is seeking information on Iconix’ s financial reporting," Fleishman said in a statement. "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.”
Iconix said in 2015 that the SEC was investigating potential misconduct involving the accounting treatment for certain joint ventures. Iconix’s share price has plummeted to about 60 cents from a high of $44 in 2014.
A spokesman for the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.