The social network paid more than $7 million in late June to a whistleblower who accuses the company of covering up security breaches.
“On June 28, 2022, Twitter entered into a separation agreement with Pater Zatko, under which Twitter paid Mr. Zatko and his lawyers a severance package totaling $7.75 million,” the boss’ lawyers wrote. on Friday. They accuse Twitter of not asking Elon Musk for his consent to this exceptional payment, and therefore, in their opinion, violated the rules of the $ 44 billion network purchase agreement signed by the two parties at the end of April.
In early July, the multi-billionaire announced that he would break that promise by accusing the San Francisco-based company of defrauding him, specifically of the exact number of fake accounts and spam. Twitter quickly filed a complaint to force the contractor to comply with the terms of the agreement, and a trial is scheduled for mid-October.
This is the third letter Elon Musk’s lawyers have sent to the group to justify their decision. The first was the breakup announcement. The second, at the end of August, cites accusations made by the company’s former head of security, Peter Zatko, as an additional argument.
Zatko, nicknamed “Maj”, accused Twitter of hiding vulnerabilities in its security system and lying about the fight against fake accounts. Posing as a whistleblower, he sent a long document to the American authorities in early July, but it was not made public until the end of August.
“Camp Musk is issuing this additional notice of termination in the event that the July 8 or August 29 notice is invalidated for one reason or another,” lawyers for the boss said. “They gave the guy 7 million to shut up,” lawyer Alex Spiro said during a court hearing on Tuesday.
According to Twitter attorney William Savitt, Mr. Zatko’s allegations are riddled with “inconsistencies and inaccuracies.”
The idea that the platform sought to cover up the accusations of its former security chief is “false and nonsensical,” he said on Tuesday. “In January, Mr. Zatko was fired. His accusations … were examined and found to be groundless.