Thursday, 25 April, 2019


SEC Urges Court To Hold Elon Musk In Contempt Over Tweets

Elon Musk at Model Y announcement SEC Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Court Defense ‘Borders on Ridiculous’ FREDERIC J. BROWN Getty19 Mar 2019
Conrad Doyle | 19 March, 2019, 23:40

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says Elon Musk hasn't made a "good faith" attempt to comply with a settlement reached previous year and revealed that none of his tweets are being approved by Tesla. During this period, the company launched a $35,000 version of its Model 3 sedan vehicle and a lower-priced SUV-Model Y. In a tweet on February 19, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the company "will make around 500k in 2019".

"It is therefore stunning to learn that, at the time of filing of the instant motion, Musk had not sought pre-approval for a single one of the numerous tweets about Tesla he published in the months since the court-ordered pre-approval policy went into effect", the SEC said in the filing. The lawyer said, "Musk correctly used his discretion to determine that his 7:15 pm tweet was not material".

Musk also promised to have Tesla lawyers review future tweets that could contain information that is "material"-that is, significant enough to affect the price of Tesla's stock".

Musk first drew the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission last summer when the Tesla CEO said on Twitter he was planning to take the company private and had already secured funding. The agency said Musk's argument that tweeting about auto production forecasts wasn't material information "borders on the ridiculous".

Also Monday, Musk lawyer, former Enron prosecutor John C. Hueston of Newport Beach, California, asked the court for permission to file another response to the SEC, this one by Friday.

Yet the tweet and the following explanation caused changes in the Tesla stock price within two days, which allegedly affected shareholders who bought Tesla stock in the period and prompted the SEC to act.

Tesla has backed off a plan to close all its US stores and said it will instead raise prices of its higher-end vehicles by about 3 percent on average.

Tesla immediately began charging $2,500 to order a Model Y, which won't be available for at least a year and a half.

His settlement with the SEC, approved by a judge in October, called for Tesla to designate an attorney to pre-approve company-related tweets. Those could include higher fines against Musk and tighter restrictions on his activities within the company.

"As long as a statement submitted for pre-approval is not false or misleading, Tesla would presumably approve its publication without any restraint on Musk".

A disclosure controls committee, made up of board members Brad Buss, Antonio Gracias and James Murdoch, was tasked with overseeing compliance with the new policy. SEC v Elon Musk, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 1:18-cv-8865-AJN-GWG.

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