Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc., waved off the trial during the trial of SolarCity in Wilmington, Delaware, USA, on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.
Al Draga | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has accused the Securities and Exchange Commission of harassing in order to “cool down” his right to free speech in overseeing his dealings with shareholders under a 2018 agreement that settled civilian securities charges against the billionaire.
Musk and Tesla thought the removal of the charges would put an end to the agency’s “persecution.” Musk and allow the court, not the agency, to monitor its execution, lawyer Maska wrote in a new court statement Thursday. “But the SEC has broken its promises,” he wrote, adding that the agency was “arming a decree of consent, using it to try to pin down and harass Mr. Musk and Tesla.”
The agency has also not yet distributed to shareholders the $ 40 million for which they fined Mask and the company under the 2018 agreement, according to a statement calling for consideration on the issue.
“The SEC seems to be targeting Mr Musk and Tesla for the ongoing investigation mainly because Mr Musk remains an outspoken critic of the government,” said Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Musk and Tesla, in a new statement, seeking to bring the agency. The securities case against him was closed in 2018. “The SEC’s enormous efforts seem to be aimed at cooling its exercise of its rights to the First Amendment, not for unreasonably enforcing universally applicable laws.”
The letter came more than a week after Tesla revealed that the SEC issued a new subpoena to Tesla in November 2021.
The financial regulator is trying to determine whether Musk and Tesla complied with the revised settlement agreement that the SEC concluded with them in 2019. According to a statement from Tesla, the agency is looking for information on “the company’s management processes around compliance with the SEC agreement, as amended.”
The subpoena came shortly after the celebrity CEO questioned him tens of millions of Twitter followers in matters if he has to sell 10% of his share at Tesla. They voted for. But much of the sales after the Twitter poll were part of a plan Musk adopted in September 2021.
The SEC has indicted Mask in September 2018 with “false and erroneous” statements to investors when it announced in August via Twitter that it had provided enough funding for a massive private buyout of Tesla at $ 420 per share. Shares have been rocking all month, and the deal that Musk evaded never materialized.
Musk and Tesla had to pay fines of $ 20 million, and Musk was forced to step down as chairman for at least three years as part of the deal. Tesla also had to set up a system to monitor Mask’s public statements about the company, on Twitter, on blogs or in any other medium.
Tesla also had to pay a separate fine of $ 20 million and appoint two independent directors to the board. One of them could be the chairman, who will replace Mask, provided that this man is not from Tesla and its affiliates. Under the terms of the deal, Musk and Tesla do not recognize or deny the offenses reported by regulators.
The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The statement came Thursday, hours after Musk tweeted a meme comparing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler. This was in response to an article stating that Canadian authorities are investigating cryptocurrency donations in support of a week-long protest against the country’s mandate for vaccines.
– CNBC Laura Deck contributed to this report.