Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) CEO and majority shareholder Vince McMahon was recently served with a search warrant and subpoena issued by a federal grand jury. The news was released by WWE as part of a quarterly report to the Security Exchange Commission (SEC). The warrant was apparently served July 17.
It appears at this point the subpoena is related to a past investigation into whether he paid hush money to employees following allegations of sexual misconduct. McMahon retired from the company following that scandal but in recent months returned to WWE to help facilitate a merger with UFC parent company Endeavor.
The 77-year-old executive chairman of the WWE, the world’s largest and most influential professional wrestling company, has been dogged by allegations that he paid millions of dollars to women who accused him of sexual misconduct. News of a Securities and Exchange Commission probe into the matter broke in July 2022.
“We believe this is a continuation of the investigation that commenced last summer,” a spokesman for WWE told The Washington Post. “WWE has cooperated throughout and fully understands and respects the government’s need for a complete process.”
Reached for comment Wednesday, the company said it believes the subpoena and search warrant are “a continuation of the investigation that commenced last summer. WWE has cooperated throughout and fully understands and respects the government’s need for a complete process.”
McMahon, in a separate statement, told CNBC: “I have always denied any intentional wrongdoing and continue to do so. I am confident that the government’s investigation will be resolved without any findings of wrongdoing.”
In April, WWE agreed to merge with rival UFC to form a new publicly traded company controlled by Endeavor Group.
WWE and Endeavor both expect the deal to close in the second half of this year, WWE said Wednesday.
The search warrant and subpoena on July 17 came a year after news first broke that federal prosecutors and the SEC were investigating WWE and McMahon over his payments to women.
WWE on Wednesday said that during the three and and six months ended June 30, “the Company incurred $5.3 million and $7.1 million, respectively, of expenses related to costs incurred” in connection with a separate investigation by a special committee created by the company’s board.
McMahon has agreed to reimburse WWE for “all reasonable costs incurred in connection” with the special committee’s work, the company said.
“To date, Mr. McMahon has paid approximately $17.4 million to reimburse the Company for costs that have been incurred and paid by the Company,” the filing said.
It is not clear how much more McMahon will have to reimburse WWE beyond that amount.
“As previously disclosed, the Special Committee investigation was completed during the fourth quarter of 2022. However, related government investigations remain ongoing,” the company said.
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