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Elon Musk ordered to appear before regulators for a third time as they probe his £35bn Twitter takeover

Elon Musk has been ordered to testify for a third time in the probe into his takeover of Twitter, now known as X.

US magistrate judge Laurel Beeler issued an order on Saturday night after Musk failed to appear before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the arranged date.

The judge said Musk "did not appear" and "resists the subpoena on the grounds the SEC's investigation is baseless and harassing and seeks irrelevant information".

The SEC sued the Tesla owner in October to compel him to cooperate in its probe of the $44bn (£35bn) Twitter takeover.

Officials want to hear his evidence on whether he acted lawfully when filling out paperwork on Twitter stock purchases and told the truth when making statements about the deal.

According to the order by the California federal court, Musk does not want to appear as he believes the regulator has leaked information to the media.

This would be his third time before the SEC, having been forced to testify twice in 2022 - over his delayed disclosure of his Twitter stake.

Musk now says a third subpoena amounts to "harassment".

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Like his fellow US tech giants, Musk has had several run-ins with the government.

In November last year he failed in his bid to stop the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) presiding over X's handling of users' private data.

He described the outcome as a "shameful case of weaponization of a government agency for political purposes and suppression of the truth".

The billionaire got into hot water again in 2018 when he tweeted: "Funding secured", as he tried to take Tesla from public to private ownership.

Regulators argued it constituted a breach of security laws. Musk subsequently agreed that Tesla could oversee his tweets, only to be sued again for breaching the agreement they had reached previously.