U.S. regulators sue Tesla's Musk for fraud, seek to bar him as officer

By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. securities regulators on Thursday accused Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk of fraud and sought to ban him as an officer of a public company, saying he made a series of 'false and misleading' tweets about potentially taking the electric car company private last month. Musk, 47, is one of the highest-profile tech executives to be accused of fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission

Reuters September 28, 2018 04:05:12 IST
U.S. regulators sue Tesla's Musk for fraud, seek to bar him as officer

US regulators sue Teslas Musk for fraud seek to bar him as officer

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. securities regulators on Thursday accused Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk of fraud and sought to ban him as an officer of a public company, saying he made a series of "false and misleading" tweets about potentially taking the electric car company private last month.

Musk, 47, is one of the highest-profile tech executives to be accused of fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Losing its public face and guiding force would be a big blow for money-losing Tesla, which has a market value of more than $50 billion, chiefly because of investors' belief in Musk's leadership.

Tesla shares tumbled 12 percent in after-hours trading. Tesla was not immediately available for comment.

The SEC's lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, comes less than two months after Musk told his more than 22 million Twitter followers on Aug. 7 that he might take Tesla private at $420 per share, and that there was "funding secured."

"Neither celebrity status nor reputation as a technological innovator provides an exemption from federal securities laws," Stephanie Avakian, co-director of enforcement at the SEC, told a news conference https://bit.ly/2xT7vzV announcing its charges against Musk.

Musk has long used Twitter to criticise short-sellers betting against his company, and already faced several investor lawsuits over the Aug. 7 tweets, which caused Tesla's share price to gyrate.

According to the SEC, Musk "knew or was reckless in not knowing" that his tweets about taking Tesla private at $420 a share were false and misleading, given that he had never discussed such a transaction with any funding source.

The SEC said he also knew he had not satisfied other contingencies when he declared unequivocally that only a shareholder vote would be needed.

Thursday's complaint also seeks to impose a civil fine and other remedies. The SEC does not have criminal enforcement power.

On Aug. 24, after news of the SEC probe had become known, Musk blogged that Tesla would remain public, citing investor resistance.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Pete Schroeder in Washington; Editing by Bill Rigby and Lisa Shumaker)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.