Former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal returned to the public eye for the first time since he was fired by Elon Musk in October 2022, suing the company over more than $1 million in unreimbursed legal fees related to federal investigations, according to a filing in a Delaware court yesterday (April 10).
Agrawal filed the lawsuit along with Ned Segal, Twitter’s former chief financial officer, and Vijaya Gadde, the company’s former general counsel and head of legal, policy and trust. Both Segal and Gadde were fired by Musk in October 2022 shortly after his takeover of Twitter.
The three former executives were defendants in a class action suit filed by Twitter shareholders in September against the company and its top executives.
In July and September 2022, Agrawal and Segal were contacted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding probes into Twitter and Elon Musk, who had signed a deal to purchase the company, the lawsuit said.
At the time, the SEC was investigating Musk’s late disclosure of his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter he bought in early 2022 before acquiring the company. The securities regulator was also looking into Musk’s intention to back out from the acquisition, which he eventually went through with. The lawsuit doesn’t say what the DOJ was investigating. The New York Times noted the DOJ has helped the Federal Trade Commission with previous investigations into Twitter and “often assists the SEC in criminal investigations.”
In addition, Gadde was a defendant along with Twitter in a civil case filed in September 2020. She also incurred legal expenses from being subpoenaed to testify at two congressional hearings in December and February about Twitter’s role in online free speech.
Because the three plaintiffs’ involvement in these cases were pertaining to their former roles at Twitter, they are entitled to be reimbursed for the expenses incurred during the process, which amounted to more than $1 million, their lawyers said in the complaint.
Twitter is facing a number of lawsuits over unpaid bills, including office rent, private jet fees and expensive gift bags. The company stopped paying many of its vendors shortly after Musk took over as he led a huge cost-cutting program that included laying off 75 percent of his staff.
Agrawal was appointed CEO of Twitter in November 2021 by the company’s cofounder and former CEO Jack Dorsey. Segal was Twitter’s CFO for five years until his departure in October 2022. He is also a board member of Beyond Meat. Gadde worked at Twitter for 11 years. She is a board member of several startups, including Planet, a satellite startup, and Guardant Health, a biotech company focusing on cancer treatment, according to her LinkedIn page.