Elon Musk pulls a rabbit out of his hat. Things did not look too good for him less than two months before the trial in which he had to decide if he validly annulled the purchase of Twitter on July 8. A complaint from a former employee has come like a rain from heaven. His lawyers have sent a letter to Twitter in which they use these complaints, related to security and privacy, as a new excuse.
“Allegations have since come to light regarding certain facts, known to Twitter prior to and as of July 8, 2022, but not disclosed to Musk and his associates prior to and at that time, that provide additional and distinct grounds for terminating the agreement. merger agreement”, says the letter sent by the lawyers of the richest man in the world. “Although Musk and its partners believe that this termination notice is not legally necessary to terminate the merger agreement because they have already validly terminated it pursuant to the July 8 notice, Musk and its partners provide this additional termination notice in the event that the July 8 is determined to be invalid for any reason.”
At the very least, Musk buys time and complicates the case, which was due to go to trial the week of October 17. The current allegations, on the other hand, have a little more foundation than the previous ones, with which he seemed to be shooting in the dark. Now at least they are based on a complaint from a former employee before the regulatory bodies, a complaint whose facts the company denies.
The complaint that Musk clings to like a straw is that of Peiter Mudge Zatko, a legendary hacker hired by the company to be in charge of security and fired in January after 15 months in office. According to it, the social network Twitter hid “extreme, enormous deficiencies” from US federal authorities about its fight against spam on the platform, its defenses against hackers and the software used by its data centers.
In their letter, the lawyers summarize the four main points of a broad complaint filed by Zatko and whose full content was revealed by The Washington Post. First, according to the complaint, Twitter is in material breach of both its obligations under a settlement reached with the regulator in 2011 “and its general obligations under data privacy, unfair business practices, and consumer protection laws and regulations.”
Second, the lawyers stress that “Twitter is especially vulnerable to systemic outage from data center failures or malicious actors, a fact that Twitter management (including its slim counselor) has ignored and tried to hide,” according to Twitter. the complaint.
Third, the lawyers welcome that “the Twitter platform relies heavily on the misappropriation and infringement of third-party intellectual property.”
And finally, they point out that, according to Zatko, “Twitter agreed to the Indian government’s demands that its agents be hired by Twitter and have access to Twitter user information.”
Musk has communicated the sending of the new letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC, for its acronym in English), the supervisory body of the markets based in Washington. His shares fall in the pre-opening due to the greater risk that the operation will not be carried out.
Musk’s lawyers, who had failed to build a strong case with the claim of excessive fake accounts, have now found new arguments. In their letter, they point out that Twitter stated in the merger agreement through which the purchase of the social network was implemented for 44,000 million dollars (a similar figure in euros at the current exchange rate), that it complied with the legislation in force, which that would not be true if those accusations are proven. In addition, Twitter claimed that it had communicated truthful information to the SEC about its situation and its risks, something that Zatko’s complaint calls into question.
In the merger agreement, Twitter also guaranteed that it had disclosed “any fraud known to the company, whether material or not, involving management or other employees who have a significant role in the company’s internal control over financial reporting.” ”. Now, Musk assures that this statement was false and, therefore, a breach of the merger agreement: “One of the components of the Zatko complaint is that the CEO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal, knowingly submitted false and misleading reports to the Twitter Board of Directors to cover up glaring vulnerabilities in Twitter’s security and data protection infrastructure. Twitter learned of this precisely in an internal report prepared by Mr. Zatko in February 2022. Twitter was required to disclose Mr. Agrawal’s conduct ‘whether or not it was relevant’ (although it was clearly relevant), and it did not”, they argue.
Finally, the lawyers also allege as reasons for breaking the agreement the risk of lawsuits that had been disregarded in the merger agreement and the violation of intellectual property rights.
[Noticia de última hora. Habrá actualización en breve]