Twitter’s $7 million payment to the whistleblower: Another reason for Musk to exit the deal

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Earlier, the Tesla CEO filed an amended countersuit against the social media giant that incorporates the claims made by the ex-security chief of Twitter against the company. This was expected by Musk when Mr. Peiter ‘Mudge’ Zatko came into the picture and said that Twitter was misleading everyone about the number of bot accounts on the platform and has also not been totally honest about its data security and privacy issues. He has also been subpoenaed by Musk’s legal team to testify in court.

Mr. Zatko was fired at the beginning of 2022. Musk’s lawyers have also spotted that Twitter paid around $7 million to Mr. Zatko before he left the company and after negotiating the amount for several months. This is being cited as another reason why the Musk-Twitter deal should not go through. While this payment doesn’t sound extremely strange as he was in an executive position but the deal made with Musk didn’t allow the company to make such payments.

“Twitter’s failure to seek his consent before paying $7.75 million to Peiter Zatko (whistleblower) and his lawyers violated the merger agreement, which restricted when Twitter could make such payments.”

Musk has sent a third letter to the company regarding the termination of the deal for the above-mentioned reasons. This letter was addressed to the chief legal officer of Twitter, Vijaya Gadde, and included in an SEC filing made by the company on Friday. The letter said, “Twitter’s failure to seek his consent before paying $7.75 million to Peiter Zatko (whistleblower) and his lawyers violated the merger agreement, which restricted when Twitter could make such payments.”

Although Musk is allowed to use the claims made by the whistleblower in court, the court rejected his appeal to delay the trial, which is set to begin on 17th October 2022. Amid this, Mr. Musk is obsessing over every little detail that includes the words Twitter and bot accounts. On Tuesday, he tweeted:

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Disney’s former CEO, Bob Iger also stated that it was contemplating buying Twitter in 2016 as it would be a great distribution platform for the company but dropped the idea after finding out that a “substantial portion” of Twitter users were “not real”. And, Mr. Musk found this “Interesting”.

It is well established that everything revolving around the number of bot accounts on Twitter is what Mr. Musk is after. But the ultimate result of Twitter vs. Musk will only come from the court.

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