Elon Musk Tweets Prompt Criminal Probe By Justice Department

19 September, 2018, 02:20 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Tesla turns over documents to feds after Elon Musk tweet

Musk initially tweeted that he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private on August 7th at a share price of $420. Tesla confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that it had received a "voluntary request for documents" from the DOJ, but that it has not yet received a subpoena. "We respect the DOJ's desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received", the company said.

And then there were the real consequences like a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and lawsuits from shareholders. According to sources, this SEC investigation was originally focused on a number of misleading pronouncements from Tesla with regard to their manufacturing goals and sales targets.

Tesla shares fell 5.3 per cent to $279.13 in midday trading.

But he later revealed that there was no concrete funding deal in place, and eventually announced he had decided it would be better for Tesla to remain a public company.

Morton was a former CFO for Seagate Technology PLC, and he joined the company just one day before Musk issued the tweet to take the company private. A British diver who helped rescue soccer players trapped in a Thai cave is suing Musk, alleging that the Tesla CEO falsely accused him of being a pedophile.

SEC enforcement attorneys in the San Francisco office were already investigating Tesla before Musk sent his tweet on taking the company private, Bloomberg reported August 9.

Tesla-Share

Because it's the Justice Department doing the investigating, that means Tesla is facing criminal in addition to existing civil litigation from the government, Bloomberg notes.

Vernon Unsworth sued over Mr Musk's reference to him in a July 15 tweet as a "pedo guy", a comment for which Mr Musk later apologised. Despite this, the complaints continued, so on Sunday Musk responded with a tweet about how Tesla's priorities are shifting; the fix wait complaint inspired the CEO to counter the issue with in-house body shops equipped with an adequate stock of parts, expert Tesla mechanics, and certified equipment.

Though Mr Unsworth told CNN three days later that Mr Musk's offer was a "PR stunt" that had no chance of working and that he could "stick his submarine where it hurts", he said that did not justify Mr Musk's use of Twitter and the media to defame him.

Unlike the Justice Department, the SEC has no power to bring criminal charges.

The company has been ramping up production of its Model 3 electric vehicle, to such an extent that delivery issues are starting to pop up.

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