Elon Musk accuses SEC forced him to sign Tesla deal in 2018
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has accused the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of forcing him to sign a deal that saw him step down as the electric vehicle manufacturer's chairman in 2018. The deal was made after SEC sued the EV maker following a tweet by Elon Musk who said that he had funding secured to take the EV company private.
Musk was reportedly forced to step down as company chairman and needed to obtain permission from the automaker before sharing sensitive tweets.
Speaking about the issue, Elon Musk has said that the SEC's unrelenting regulatory pressure, combined with the attendant collateral consequence of the SEC’s complaint against him, caused a scenario in which he was forced to sign the consent decree in 2018.
He also said that Musk learnt from Tesla’s Investor Relations team that several of the automaker's largest shareholders could cede their ownership in Tesla, substantially impacting its financing, if the case was not settled expediently. Hence, he took the decision to save the automaker. Musk also claimed that he never lied to Tesla shareholders.
Meanwhile, Musk's lawyers have urged the court to abandon the 2018 deal. They have said that SEC is targeting Musk and acting in bad faith. Elon Musk has also asked the judge to block the SEC subpoena requesting records of pre-approval of a Twitter poll he conducted in November last year on potentially selling some of his stock, which created quite a buzz.
As Musk's lawyers have written to the court, SEC's pursuit of Elon Musk has crossed the line into harassment, which is quintessential bad faith