Federal law enforcement agents executed a search warrant on World Wrestling Entertainment boss Vince McMahon last month and served him with a federal grand jury subpoena, the company disclosed Wednesday.
The actions represent an escalation of an ongoing investigation into allegations that McMahon paid millions of dollars over the years to women after being accused of sexual misconduct.
WWE also revealed Wednesday that McMahon “went on medical leave after undergoing major spinal surgery.”
McMahon’s leave began July 21, and he will “remain on medical leave until further notice but will remain Executive Chairman” of WWE, the company said in its quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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 noted in the SEC filing Wednesday that it “has received voluntary and compulsory legal demands for documents, including from federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies, concerning the investigation and related subject matters.”
McMahon’s wife, Linda, who previously was CEO of WWE, served in former President Donald Trump’s Cabinet as administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
McMahon’s federal search warrant and grand jury subpoena were disclosed just a day after Trump, a longtime friend of McMahon’s, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., on felony charges related to his efforts to reverse his loss in the 2020 presidential election.
WWE on Wednesday said that during the three 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.