Vince McMahon retirement reportedly “hastened” by federal investigations

Jul 25, 2022 - by Marc Middleton

Former WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon is reportedly being investigated by the federal government.

The Securities & Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors are reportedly investigating the “hush money” payments McMahon made to settle allegations of sexual misconduct, according to The Wall Street Journal‘s source.

It was noted that the new federal investigations into the payments “hastened” the WWE retirement of McMahon, which was announced last Friday.

WWE announced today that an ongoing internal investigation revealed McMahon made payments of $14.6 million from 2006-2022, and that he “has or will repay” all expenses, personally. WWE’s announcement also noted that they were revising previous financial statements for the impacted years.

We noted earlier how Vince was apparently facing more investigations as today’s SEC filing noted that WWE has received “regulatory, investigative and enforcement inquiries, subpoenas or demands” related to the payments. It was speculated that these could be the law firms who announced their class action lawsuit investigations several weeks back, or perhaps media outlets such as HBO’s Real Sports, but now we know that Vince is being investigated by the government.

WSJ noted that a spokesman for the independent directors of the WWE Board declined to comment, while the SEC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, and a spokesman for the United States Attorney’s office in Connecticut, where WWE is based, declined to comment. A spokesman for WWE and Vince previously stated that they were cooperating with the internal Board investigation.

Friday’s massive WWE corporate shake-up came after the WWE Board of Directors began investigating Vince and then-Talent Relations head John Laurinaitis over allegations of misconduct earlier this year. As we’ve noted, it was initially revealed on Wednesday, June 15 that WWE’s Board of Directors has been investigating Vince over the “secret $3 million settlement” he made to the former paralegal that was hired in 2019. Laurinaitis was also being investigated for his involvement, and it was revealed that the Board had been looking into other instances with former female employees as well. It was then announced on Friday, June 17 that Stephanie McMahon returned from her leave of absence to act as the Interim CEO & Interim Chairwoman after Vince voluntarily stepped away from his Chairman & CEO corporate duties, while still continuing his creative responsibilities, at least at that time. It was then revealed on Monday, June 20 that Bruce Prichard, WWE’s Senior Vice President and RAW/SmackDown Executive Producer, was working as the Interim Senior Vice President of Talent Relations, filling in for Laurinaitis during the investigation. It was then revealed on Friday, July 8, that McMahon agreed to pay more than $12 million in “hush money” to four women, including a former wrestler, as another round of allegations were made public. Prichard is no longer working the interim role as WWE announced on July 22 that Triple H is the new WWE Executive Vice President of Talent Relations. Vince’s retirement was announced hours after Triple H’s new role was revealed, and Vince was the first to confirm that Stephanie is the new Chairwoman & Co-CEO, along with Co-CEO Nick Khan. Laurinaitis is believed to be gone from the company. WWE announced today, July 25, that Triple H is also the new head of creative. WWE also announced today that previous financial statements are being revised due to “certain unrecorded expenses” by Vince, in the amount of $14.6 million, which are the payouts to various women.

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