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The Securities and Exchange Commission has approached a Manhattan court accusing Tesla chief executive Elon Musk of violating an agreement with the regulator that required him to seek approval from the company’s board for any tweet that might affect Tesla’s share price.
Reuters reports, quoting the SEC court filing, that the regulator accused Musk of not asking the approval of Tesla’s board of directors for any tweets posted since the agreement was made. The watchdog said it had asked the Tesla board if the CEO had approached it for approving tweets, and the board responded in the negative.
“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 told the judge in a Manhattan court.
Last month, The Securities and Exchange Commission has asked a judge to hold Elon Musk in contempt for violating a deal the regulator struck with the Tesla chief executive last year, which requires him to get the approval of the Tesla board of directors before tweeting anything that could “be material to investors.”
The tweet that prompted the SEC move said that Tesla will manufacture half a million cars this year. The tweet, however, was quickly followed by another one, clarifying that he “Meant to say annualized production rate at end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week. Deliveries for year still estimated to be about 400k.”
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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.
It was this phrase, “funding secured”, that alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission, which launched a probe into this claim, prompting Musk to come forward with the revelation that he had for years been in talks with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund to take the company private.
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.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.