The interaction of an intense laser pulse with a solid target produces large number of fast free electrons. This emission gives rise to two distinct sources of the electromagnetic pulse (EMP): the pulsed return current through the holder of the target and the outflow of electrons into the vacuum. A relation between the characteristics of laser-produced plasma, the target return current and the EMP emission are presented in the case of a massive Au target irradiated with the intensity of up to 3 × 1016 W/cm2. The emission of the EMP was recorded using a 12 cm diameter Moebius loop antennas, and the target return current was measured using a new type of inductive target probe (T-probe). The simultaneous use of the inductive target probe and the Moebius loop antenna represents a new useful way of diagnosing the laser–matter interaction, which was employed to distinguish between laser-generated ion sources driven by low and high contrast laser pulses.