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Uber data case, Voyager bankruptcy, and Musk's tweets: 3 legal stories to watch

·Reporter
·5 min read
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This week, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over customers of bankrupt cryptocurrency platform Voyager Digital whose assets were frozen by the company in connection with its filing for Chapter 11 reorganization. The company is accusing competing platform FTX of inaccurately promising Voyager customers access to their crypto assets in a publicity stunt that circumvents the court-administered bidding process.

And on Monday Tesla (TSLA) reported that it has received yet another subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission related to CEO Elon Musk's infamous 2018 tweet in which he said he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private. We're looking into what else the SEC wants to know about the tweet after reaching a 2018 settlement over the statement with both Tesla and Musk.

Plus, Uber (UBER) has reached another milestone in ending a range of legal disputes with customers, drivers, lawmakers, and regulators. On Friday, the Justice Department said it agreed not to prosecute Uber over a 2016 data breach that exposed the personal information of millions of Uber customers and drivers.

Voyager says FTX "circumventing" bankruptcy process

Customers of Voyager Digital were sent into further limbo on Sunday after the bankrupt cryptocurrency platform objected to a joint proposal from Alameda Ventures, and one of its largest shareholders and biggest competitors, FTX Trading, owner of cryptocurrency platform FTX.com.

On Friday, FTX US said it intended to partner with Alameda to provide a cash infusion tied to a proposed purchase of Voyager assets. The deal would allow Voyager customers to access cryptocurrency assets that have been frozen since Voyager halted withdrawals. Under the proposal, Alameda would purchase all of Voyager's digital assets and digital asset loans, and its customers would be able to access funds on a portion of their bankruptcy claims against Voyager by setting up an FTX account.

"Customers would be able to withdraw their cash immediately, or use it to purchase digital assets on the FTX platform. No customer is required to participate, and participation in the joint proposal is fully voluntary," FTX said in a press release.

BRAZIL - 2022/07/04: In this photo illustration, the Voyager Digital logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BRAZIL - 2022/07/04: In this photo illustration, the Voyager Digital logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Voyager struck back in a Sunday court filing, calling FTX's offer an attempt to circumvent its bankruptcy proceedings. The company also characterized FTX's statements about its offer "highly misleading."

"It seems clear, however, that AlamedaFTX’s Proposal...was designed to generate publicity for itself rather than value for Voyager’s customers," Voyager said in a court document.

Voyager filed for Chapter 11 reorganization on July 5, and the next hearing on the reorganization is scheduled for Aug. 4.

Musk Tweet still looms over Tesla

Tesla isn't finished accounting for a 2018 tweet from CEO Elon Musk suggesting he'd secured funding to privatize the electric car company.

The electric vehicle maker disclosed in a regulatory filing on Monday that on June 13 it received a second subpoena from the SEC seeking information around its compliance with a 2018 settlement over the tweet. Tesla and Musk each paid $20 million in fines to the SEC to close the agency's investigation into the matter.

Separately, on Friday, Tesla was ordered to participate in settlement talks with shareholders who claim the tweet artificially inflated Tesla's share price. The October settlement conference adds to an already litigation-heavy month for Musk. Delaware Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick ordered a fast-tracked trial to take place in October to decide Musk's closely watched entanglement with Twitter after the social media company sued to force his $44 billion commitment to acquire the company.

The same judge is set to preside over another October trial in a case brought by a Tesla investor who argues the company is paying Musk a full-time 10-year, $56 billion CEO compensation package in exchange for part-time work.

Uber avoids data breach-linked litigation

Uber Technologies reached an agreement with U.S. prosecutors over its 2016 data breach coverup that jeopardized the personal information of 57 million customers and drivers.

On Friday, the U.S. Justice Department agreed not to prosecute Uber for its failure to report the breach to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for approximately a year. According to the DOJ, Uber's executive management overhaul in 2017 and its participation in a 20-year comprehensive privacy program contributed to its decision to reach the non-prosecution agreement.

In 2018, Uber reached an agreement with 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to pay $148 million to settle the governments’ joint civil lawsuit over the breach. The company in that dispute also agreed to adopt and maintain data security safeguards, and swiftly report security lapses.

The settlement puts another of Uber’s major legal hurdles behind it as its management team works to reestablish trust with customers, drivers, lawmakers, and regulators. Last week, the ride hailing company settled another DOJ action, brought in 2016 on behalf of disabled riders. The company facies private legal action from female riders who claim they were sexually assaulted by their Uber driver. Uber also continues to fight the reach of a California worker classification law, AB5, that makes it more difficult for ride hailing services to designate drivers as independent contractors.

Alexis Keenan is a legal reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow Alexis on Twitter @alexiskweed.

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