Lawyers for Elon Musk sent another letter to Twitter on Friday in their latest attempt to call off the $44 billion deal for the world’s richest man to buy the social media platform, claiming a severance payment given to a Twitter whistleblower violated his agreement with the company.
The letter stated a $7.75 million agreement Twitter entered into with Peiter Zatko in June broke the terms of Musk’s deal since Twitter allegedly did not contact Musk or seek his consent.
Zatko, Twitter’s former head of security, claimed there were “dangerous data privacy and security risks” ignored by company leadership, prompting regulatory concerns in the U.S. and Europe.
Musk’s lawyers sent a separate termination notice to Twitter on August 29, saying if Zatko’s allegations are true there would be “material, if not existential, consequences” for the company.
Musk has been trying to terminate the deal since July 8, citing concerns about the number of bots and fake accounts that populate Twitter.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.
“For the avoidance of doubt, these bases are in addition to, and not in lieu of, the bases for termination identified in the July 8 Termination Notice and the August 29 Termination Notice,” attorney Mike Ringer said in the letter.
Twitter’s board accepted Musk’s unsolicited offer to buy the company in April, with Musk saying he looked forward to greatly rolling back moderation policies he thinks silence certain political viewpoints. But cracks in the deal began to emerge shortly after, when Musk started voicing concern about Twitter’s claim that less than 5% of accounts are fake. Twitter filed a lawsuit against Musk on July 12—four days after Musk sent his termination notice—claiming Musk actually wants out because of a decline in his personal wealth. A five-day trial to determine the company’s future ownership will take place in Delaware starting October 17. Musk’s team has subpoenaed Zatko, seeking additional information about Twitter’s inner workings.
We estimate Musk to be worth $270.7 billion, making him the wealthiest person on Earth.