Published: Sat, August 18, 2018
Economy | By

SEC sends subpoena to Tesla over Elon Musk tweets

SEC sends subpoena to Tesla over Elon Musk tweets

Tesla's stock fell as much as 4% after reports that U.S. regulators had sent the company subpoenas as they ramp up investigations into its plans to go private.

Mr Musk tweeted on August 7 that he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private at a price of $420 a share. Since then questions have arisen about both the seriousness of the claim (one that Musk has stuck to despite evidence to the contrary) and whether Musk was intentionally trying to juice Tesla's stock (thus thwarting short sellers).

Musk also revealed in the same post that he had been talking to Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund about providing the money for a buyout that would end Tesla's eight-year history as a publicly held company, but he added that the financing was still contingent on due diligence.

However, public speculation about the accuracy of Musk's initial tweet has continued to swirl, even as Tesla's board formed an independent committee to assess the possibility of going private.

Representatives for the SEC and Tesla declined to comment. Subpoenas typically indicate the SEC has opened a formal investigation into a matter. Goldman Sachs confirmed to CNN on Wednesday that it is working with Tesla. "Obviously, the Saudi sovereign fund has more than enough capital needed to execute on such a transaction".

About a week earlier, Martin Tripp, a former Tesla employee who has filed a whistleblower complaint against the company, was interviewed by commission officials over the phone, his lawyer, Stuart Meissner, said. If his claim proves to be untrue, Musk may be in violation of United States securities law. President Donald Trump's administration is stepping up scrutiny of foreign investment in American technology. The newspaper cited an unidentified person familiar with the matter after Fox Business News reported the SEC's move.

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