Elon Musk wants to end an agreement with the US Stock Exchange Constable (SEC), which requires him to have his messages directly related to Tesla’s activity approved by a competent lawyer before being broadcast on social networks . The boss of the automotive group, accustomed to controversy on Twitter, asked a judge in New York (United States) on Tuesday to cancel the agreement concluded in 2018.
The SEC is seeking to “harass Tesla and silence Elon Musk,” said Alex Spiro, a lawyer for the billionaire, in a letter to Judge Alison Nathan. The obligation to have the messages pre-approved was one of the sanctions imposed by the SEC after a tweet published in 2018, in which Elon Musk claimed to have the appropriate funding to remove Tesla from the stock market, without providing proof.
“I never lied”
After a new unfortunate tweet in early 2019, Elon Musk had accepted that his messages directly related to Tesla’s activity be pre-approved. He explains today that he was “forced” to do so by the threats of a lawsuit from the SEC. The 2018 tweet “was written when I was considering taking Tesla off the stock market, that I had the funding and the support of investors,” said the leader in the court filing. “I have never lied to shareholders. I would never lie to shareholders. I accepted (the agreement with the SEC) for the survival of Tesla, in the interest of the shareholders, ”he declares.
A few hours after Elon Musk’s legal request, the SEC made its own request to Judge Nathan. The regulator wants the $ 40 million penalty imposed in 2018 on the billionaire and Tesla after the controversial tweet to be returned to the aggrieved investors. The amount of this fund is currently $41.2 million from accrued interest. “The Commission’s primary purpose in devising a distribution plan is to identify a methodology that would allocate available funds in a fair and responsible manner in proportion to the harm suffered by investors as a result of defendants’ actions (Elon Musk and Tesla),” the SEC writes. Elon Musk’s team criticizes the SEC for having carried out “relentless” investigations into the tweets of the boss of Tesla for the past four years.
He asks his subscribers if he is selling his shares
In November, the executive sold more than $6.9 billion worth of Tesla shares in one week, one of the largest sales ever seen in such a tight period without the sale being constrained or falling into the part of a succession. Even before the first documents reporting the sales were published by the regulator, Elon Musk had conducted a poll from his Twitter account to find out whether or not he should part with 10% of his Tesla shares. Some 57.9% of the 3.5 million voters responded positively.
According to the wall street journal, the SEC has opened an investigation to determine whether the 50-year-old born in South Africa and his brother had not committed insider trading around the sale of shares. The stock price had fallen in the wake of the poll. The regulator wonders if Elon Musk warned his brother, also a member of the board of directors of Tesla, that he was going to publish this tweet and if Kimbal Musk placed orders as a result. When questioned, the SEC declined to comment.