Tesla's Musk appears to mock SEC on Twitter after settlement

05 October, 2018, 14:42 | Author: Dominic Spencer
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk seemed to take aim at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a tweet on Thursday, calling it the "Shortseller Enrichment Commission".

Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Thursday taunted the Securities and Exchange Commission on Twitter, just days after he settled fraud charges with the agency. But according to Recode's Teddy Schleifer, that requirement doesn't kick in for 90 days after signing, giving Musk a few more weeks of unfettered tweeting. The deal also requires Tesla's board to "establish a new committee of independent directors and put in place additional controls and procedures to oversee Musk's communications".

Tesla shares declined by more than 2 per cent to $274.50 in extended trading after Musk's tweet. Tesla did not immediately respond. The company also accepted a $20 million fine, despite not being charged with fraud.

Tesla and the SEC declined requests for comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Mark Cuban spoke to Musk and advised him "that a settlement wouldn't be as damaging as a court fight with the agency".


Peter Henning, a Wayne State law professor who was formerly an SEC attorney, said: "It certainly shows his pique at having to settle. It's what they do", he said of the SEC.

The tweet came less than four hours after U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan ordered Musk and the SEC to explain by October 11 in a joint letter why their settlement was fair and reasonable and would not hurt the public interest.

However, at the last minute, Musk's lawyer reportedly called the SEC and told them that his client was no longer interested in settling. It sought to bar Musk from being an officer or director of a public company.

Mr Musk's tweet, however, could give a judge reason to believe he will not change his behaviour. "Naughty by Nature", he tweeted, including a winking face.

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