Former Twitter execs sue Elon Musk for over $128 million in severance


FILE PHOTO: Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre in Paris, France, June 16, 2023. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

(Reuters) -Four former top Twitter executives, including former CEO Parag Agrawal, have sued Elon Musk for over $128 million in combined unpaid severance, according to a lawsuit filed on Monday.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, is the latest in a series of legal challenges the billionaire faces after he acquired the social media company for $44 billion in October 2022 and later renamed it X.

The other plaintiffs are Ned Segal, Twitter's former chief financial officer; Vijaya Gadde, its former chief legal officer; and Sean Edgett, its former general counsel.

Mere minutes after Musk took control of Twitter, the former executives say they were fired and that Musk falsely accused them of misconduct and forced them out of Twitter after they sued the billionaire for attempting to renege on his offer to purchase the company.

Musk then denied the executives severance pay they had been promised for years before he acquired Twitter, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs say they each are owed one year's salary and hundreds of thousands of stock options.

"This is the Musk playbook: to keep the money he owes other people, and force them to sue him," the former executives said in the 39-page lawsuit.

X is already facing a pair of proposed class actions claiming it owes rank-and-file workers who were laid off after Musk's acquisition at least $500 million in severance, and a third lawsuit by six former senior managers making similar claims. X has denied wrongdoing.

The company has also been sued previously for failing to pay its former public relations firm, landlords, vendors and consultants.

X did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

(Reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru, Sheila Dang in Dallas and Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Aurora Ellis)

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