Tesla CEO Musk accuses SEC of calculated efforts to ‘cool’ his right to free speech

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc. , as he leaves court during the SolarCity trial in Wilmington, Delaware, US, on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has accused the Securities and Exchange Commission of harassment in a calculated attempt to “cool” his right to free speech in its oversight of his communications with shareholders as part of a 2018 agreement that paid civil securities charges against the billionaire.

Musk and Tesla believed that settling the charges would end the agency’s “harassment”. musk and allowing the court, not the agency, to monitor his compliance, Musk’s attorney wrote in the lawsuit. “But the SEC has reneged on its promises,” they wrote, adding that the agency was “weaponizing the consent decree by using it to try to muzzle and harass Musk and Tesla.”

The agency has also not yet distributed to shareholders the $40 million fine by Musk and the company, according to the file seeking a hearing in the matter.

“The Securities and Exchange Commission appears to be targeting Mr. Musk and Tesla for a largely relentless investigation because Mr. Musk remains an outspoken critic of the government,” Musk said in a new lawsuit on Thursday. close. “It appears that the SEC’s massive efforts were calculated to discourage his exercise of First Amendment rights rather than enforce generally applicable laws in an equitable manner.”

The message comes more than a week after Tesla revealed that the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a new subpoena to Tesla in November 2021.

The financial regulator is trying to determine whether Musk and his Tesla have complied with the agency’s revised settlement agreement with them in 2019. According to the Tesla filing, the SEC is seeking information on “corporate governance processes around compliance with the SEC settlement, as amended.”

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The summons came shortly after the famous CEO polled him Tens of millions of Twitter followers in question If he sells 10% of his stake in Tesla. They voted yes. But a large portion of the sales that followed the Twitter poll were part of a plan Musk adopted in September of this year.

The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Musk In September 2018, he made “false and misleading” statements to investors when he announced in August via Twitter that he had secured enough funding to buy the massive private company Tesla at $420 a share. Stocks swung all month and the elusive deal never materialized.

Musk had to pay a $20 million fine and step down as chairman for at least three years as part of the deal. Tesla also had to put in place a system to monitor Musk’s public statements about the company, whether on Twitter, blog posts, or any other medium.

Tesla also had to pay a separate fine of $20 million, and appoint independent directors to the board of directors. One of those could be the president replacing Musk, provided that person comes from outside of Tesla and its subsidiaries. Under the terms of the deal, Musk and Tesla do not admit or deny alleged wrongdoing by regulators.

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