It’s still unclear whether the Securities Exchange Commission will look into investigating [artist id=”860639″]50 Cent[/artist] over messages he posted to his Twitter account encouraging his followers to buy stock in H&H Imports. But according to Jason Krywko, the chief operating officer of Sleek Audio, the company behind 50’s headphone line, the MC is only guilty of being excited about a new business venture.
After it was discovered that H&H Imports is the parent company of TV Goods Inc., which has a stake in Sleek Audio and is distributing Fif’s new line of headphones, Sleek by 50 Cent, eyebrows were raised about whether the Queens rapper had violated any ethical rules.
“For 50, this is like watching a baby grow,” Krywko told MTV News by phone on Friday (January 14). “For nine months, he’s been cultivating it, nurturing it, helping make sure everything’s all right with it, supporting us. I guess that night that we were overwhelmed and swelled with pride,” the 31-year old explained of their announcement of the headphones at CES Las Vegas . “I don’t think there was any malice or [negative] intention behind it.”
The rapper joined Sleek Audio representatives at the Vegas trade show over the weekend, and according to Krywko, news of the new gadget was well-received. 50 soon let off a string of tweets. “HNHI is the stock symbol for TVG there launching 15 different products. they are no joke get in now,” he wrote on Saturday. He followed that with, “TVG’s stock went from 5cent to 10 in one day. You can double your money right now. Just get what you can afford.”
Those tweets were subsequently deleted but the perception lingers that 50 may have been complicit in artificially manipulating the stock price of a “penny stock” (trading for less than a dollar) via positive or misleading Twitter word of mouth — a financial scheme also known as a “pump and dump.”
The marketing and distribution company TV Goods, to which 50 referred in those tweets, has an equity stake in Sleek Audio. Fif has a minority stake in Sleek, Krywko confirmed to MTV News, and a January 6 press release named the “Get Rich or Die Tryin’ ” rapper as a minority shareholder in TV Goods. So it would appear that Fif is an investor in both companies, and ultimately stands to reap from their success.
While Krywko declined to comment on the business relationship between 50 and TV Goods Inc., he said, “His relationship with them is separate from [the one] with us.
“Anybody that sees 50 knows he tweets a hundred times a day,” Krywko continued. “50’s made a lot of money off things like Vitamin Water and all that, and doesn’t have to try to pump something up to make money. He’s got a million deals sitting on his desk at any time of the day worth 10 times that.”
On Monday, 50 took to Twitter again, perhaps seeking to clarify his earlier tweets. “I own HNHI stock thoughts on it are my opinion,” he tweeted. “Talk to financial advisor about it.”
He went on to add, “HNHI is the right investment for me it may or may not be right for u! Do ur homework.”
Sleek by 50 Cent headphones are due in stores in April and they’re among the first sets to use a wireless audio technology called KLEER, which allows them to transmit CD-quality audio without cable.