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Biden opens door to probing Elon Musk’s cooperation with foreign countries

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Nov 10, 2022 - 01:34 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that tech billionaire Elon Musk’s foreign business dealings are “worthy” of federal scrutiny.

Speaking to reporters in his first public remarks since the US’s Nov. 8 midterm elections, Biden was asked if Musk is a threat to US national security and if the US should investigate his recent $44 billion joint acquisition of Twitter with foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

“I think that Elon Musk’s cooperation and/or technical relationships with other countries is worthy of being looked at,” he said. “Whether or not he is doing anything inappropriate, I’m not suggesting that. What I am suggesting is that it is worth being looked at.”

Following Musk’s takeover of Twitter, Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company and the private office of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal jointly became the social media company’s second-largest shareholder behind the Tesla and SpaceX CEO. Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund owns a roughly 17% stake in Kingdom Holding Company, which is an investment firm owned by bin Talal.

The Washington Post newspaper reported last week that officials within the Treasury Department had contacted Twitter to “learn more about the structure of its new ownership and the confidential agreements Musk struck with his foreign investors.”

At issue, the Post reported, are investments from bin Talal, a subsidiary of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, and Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange formerly headquartered in China, and whether their investments could be used as leverage to access personal user data.

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