US President Donald Trump administration has asked for a cut from the sale of TikTok’s US unit if an American firm buys it.
The president said he made a demand for a “substantial portion” of the purchase price in a phone call at the weekend with Microsoft’s boss.
“The United States should get a very large percentage of that price, because we’re making it possible,” Mr Trump said.
“It would come from the sale, which nobody else would be thinking about but me, but that’s the way I think, and I think it’s very fair,” he added.
The request for payment to the US Treasury has now further complicated the negotiations and being called highly unorthodox. According to legal experts the government has no authority to take a cut of a private deal.
Charlotte Jee, a reporter at MIT Technology Review has dubbed the handling of TikTok and Trump’s comment as ‘Mafia-like behaviour’.
ByteDance, the Chinese company who owns TikTok has come under huge pressure from the Trump administration to sell its US business.
The Trump administration has accused TikTok and others of providing data to the Chinese government, which Beijing and TikTok deny.
TikTok now have time until 15th September to make deal with Microsoft or someone else or face a ban.