Tesla Inc. chief executive Elon Musk said the tweet that cost him and the company US$20 million in fines each by the US Securities and Exchange Commision was “Worth It”, Reuters reports.
The tweet, sent late Friday evening less than an hour before Musk tweeted that he would take a break from Twitter “for a few days”, was in response to a question from a Twitter follower.
The SEC in September charged Musk, 47, with misleading investors with tweets on Aug. 7 that said he was considering taking Tesla private at US$420 a share and had secured funding. The tweets had no basis in fact, and the ensuing market chaos hurt investors, regulators claimed.
Tesla and Elon Musk have agreed to pay US$20 million each to financial regulators and the billionaire will step down as the company’s chairman but remain as chief executive, under a settlement.
Under the agreement, Tesla needs to appoint an independent chairman by Nov. 13.
Meanwhile, Tesla said it has not received a US subpoena related to its Model 3 production forecasts, following a report that it faced a deepening criminal probe about the projections.
The company has cooperated in responding to what it called a “voluntary request” for documents from the Department of Justice in September, Reuters reported, citing a Tesla spokesperson. The agency has the ability to press criminal charges.
“We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process, and there have been no additional document requests about this from the Department of Justice for months,” the spokesperson said in an email.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining whether Tesla misstated information about the production of its Model 3 sedans and misled investors about its business going back to early 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.
In recent weeks, FBI agents have contacted former Tesla employees to seek testimony in the criminal case, according to the report. The ex-employees received subpoenas earlier in the probe, and FBI agents recently have sought to interview a number of them, the sources said.
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