U.S. SEC charges Tesla CEO Elon Musk with fraud

“Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud, according to court documents filed Thursday,” Sara Salinas reports for CNBC. “Sources close to the company told CNBC the company was also expecting to be sued, though Tesla was not named as a defendant in the complaint.”

“The SEC complaint alleges that Musk issued ‘false and misleading’ statements and failed to properly notify regulators of material company events. The SEC held a press conference Thursday night regarding the complaint,” Salinas reports. “Among other remedies, the SEC is seeking to bar Musk from serving as an officer or director of a publicly traded company if found guilty.”

“In August, Musk tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private, adding ‘funding secured.’ The tweet spurred a scandal-ridden fall for Tesla and sent the stock see-sawing for weeks,” Salinas reports. “The complaint also alleges Musk tweeted the statement without the input of other Tesla executives.”

“Tesla’s board of directors initially formed a special committee to evaluate the take-private proposal, and Musk said he had hired financial advisors to assist with the plans. Musk ultimately called off the privatization plans on Aug. 24,” Salinas reports. “Tesla said earlier this month the Department of Justice was also looking into the Aug. 7 tweet.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, who has the stronger case against erratic Elon? The U.S. SEC or “pedo guy?” Or are they tied in the slam dunk department?

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Tesla sinks on concerns over CEO Elon Musk’s erratic behavior – August 17, 2018
Doug Field, former Tesla engineering chief, returns to Apple – August 10, 2018


    1. Too many people online value celebrity over a calm and smooth steady hand at the wheel who is brilliant at execution.

      Tim Cook runs rings around Elon Musk when it comes to being a CEO of a major publicly traded company.

      And Musk will never achieve his visions of major change if he can’t figure out how to execute and run his company properly. He’s had some great ideas, and he has had some success, but will never achieve on the scale he envisions unless he grows up. Maybe this will be a catalyst.

      When Steve Jobs rejoined Apple, he was still the great visionary but had matured and that combination of genius plus maturity made for the most spectacular 10 years of any CEO ever. Musk needs to learn that lesson.

    2. I could not have said it better, spyinthesky, and I lacked the courage to say it myself. Commenters here at MDN can be very forceful in their denunciations of persons like myself who dare to denounce their favourites. Their efforts to ridicule the likes of me take a toll, which is to say, I fall silent out of fatigue. You, however, seem to have a keen energy that sustains your basic opposition to idiocy.

  1. I cannot support Musk for his attitude and general demeanour but equally I also cannot support MDN’s take. It’s as muck raking a term as it was when Elon Musk used it against one of the Thai cave rescuers. Disgusting useage by Musk and disgusting useage by MDN.

    1. I don’t see what the big deal is with the way MDN used that term. They are not saying the guy is what Musk called him, but rather that he has a slam dunk case against Musk…in other words the accusation is not true.

      Yes, MDN repeated the term…but meant no disrespect to the cave rescuer.

  2. Hey MDN…that guy has a name – Vernon Unsworth, but then being a Brit, who cares…right?…”let’s just call him pedo man ‘cos he probably is and that’s what we think”

    1. I don’t think you understand what MDN is trying to say…he’s not accusing the Unsworth guy of being a “pedo” but saying he has a slam dunk case against Must because the accusation on its face is so absurd.

      1. I think I know exactly what MDN is saying in such a careless sniggering fashion which just fixes ’pedo’ in folks minds with the total omission of any explanation.
        Is courtesy now dead?

  3. To be fair, if the take just used the name just Vernon Unsworth, 99% of people wouldn’t have understood what MDN was talking about. The only reason anyone beyond his own social/professional circle knows him is because Elon called him that.

    I think Elon should be heavily fined (like a billion dollars heavy), but barring him from being an officer of Tesla or any other public company is a bit extreme for a first time offense in a case that has little direct precedent. What it could end up doing is actually forcing Tesla into going private, as the company probably has no future without him.

  4. MDN take is almost as big and biased a joke as when the SEC found apple’s $3 in ebook sales anti competitive and sided with monopolist amazon.

    If musk manipulated prices, he sucks at it, or you better prove he shorted his own stock, because right after his 420 statement the stock went down and only went up after he said it was off the table.

    The sec should be sacked. It ignores blatant stock manipulation for years on Apple as outlined by Cramer, the funds use complicit press to start negative rumors, and go after people that actually do and make things.

    MDN take is completely smug hypocritical crap.

    Except the pedo guy thing ,where musk is a lunatic. But this sec bs is for the benefit of some do nothing prosecutors there that use musks name for some notoriety so they can use it for their next political ambition.

    1. You are incorrect: when Musk tweeted out the statement about going private at $420 per share, the share prices jumped because they were in the 350’s…and they rose about 8.5% before settling in at about 7% higher.

      And of course on paper Musk got a lot richer.

      But I don’t think Musk was trying to manipulate the stock price; only being a crazy fool and venting and making a joke. But he needs to understand better his responsibilities as CEO of a major publicly traded company.

      1. Disagree, you’re incorrect. It went down on the day and stayed down for days. That there was a momentary blip followed by prolonged drop seems to be a detail you’re missing. So you better have evidence of him selling during the blip. Another of many witch hunts in our culture.

        Agree he was being a fool. This is uneccassary pain he’s brought on himself. However, our sec is garbage. Instead of getting the “joke” a few tools otherwise not doing things to actually stop manipulation of the market, decided to use this to raise some political capital at his, and everyone’s expense.

        1. I’m sorry but you are wrong. The shares spiked on the tweet by Musk. NASDAQ even halted trading on the shares for a bit of time. Yes it eventually went back down but that doesn’t matter: Musk or anyone could have made huge profits off of the temporary rise.

          And it doesn’t matter if Musk didn’t make any profit. He still did something terribly wrong and broke the rules. When you run a public company you cannot do what Musk did and face no consequences. The SEC is not supposed to judge whether the pronouncements of a famous CEO are a “joke.” They judge it the way they would for any CEO tweeting this out.

          It was foolish and stupid and it will cost him. Maybe he will learn and come out better for it.

    1. I admit that, for a while, I believed that Elon Musk would perform better than Tim Cook as CEO of Apple, just like a lot of other people who commented here. Now I realise that what I “believed” was a cognitive construct of social media, an amorphous something that begged me to belong to a trending idea, absolving me of the chore of thinking for myself. I am ashamed of myself for involuntarily submitting to such blatant manipulation. I can’t promise that I won’t fall for it again. I am human, after all. But I will be more careful before throwing someone like Tim Cook under the bus, just because.

  5. “It kind of sucks running a public company. The stock goes through these huge gyrations for seemingly arbitrary reasons, and then I get asked why it has changed, and I’m like I have no idea. I think it’s a big distraction actually. The market is like a manic depressive, I mean one day it’s super great and then it’s negative – it’s not like the underlying fundamentals of Tesla change that much, but the instantaneous price changes a huge amount. It’s very confusing I’ll say things that I think if people understand what I’m saying the stock should go up, but it goes down, like what the hell? and vice versa.”

    source: “Elon Musk: The Unauthorized Autobiography”

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