Tesla's Elon Musk calls SEC 'broken' in new Twitter spat

Investor's Corner					Tesla Gigafactory 3 foundation prep underway as China mobilizes its workforce														 /YouTube

Investor's Corner Tesla Gigafactory 3 foundation prep underway as China mobilizes its workforce /YouTube

The latest dust-up emerged late Monday when the Securities and Exchange Commission asked a federal court in NY to hold Musk in contempt for violating a $40 million settlement he begrudgingly reached with the US stock market's chief regulatory agency five months ago.

Musk, who initially on Monday accused the SEC of failing to read the company's annual reports, followed up with another tweet in the early hours of Tuesday.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk's tweeting habits have triggered another legal challenge from stock market regulators in the US.

The deal with the SEC came about after Musk tweeted previous year that he planned to take Tesla private and already had the financing to do it - an assertion that proved false but nonetheless made investors who bet against the company lose millions.

Musk tweeted that the company would make about 500,000 cars this year.

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Almost four and a half hours later, Musk clarified the tweet, saying that he meant that Tesla would actually be at a sustained production rate that meets its long-promised 10,000 vehicles per week goal. On Monday, the SEC called on a federal court to hold Musk in contempt for violating the terms of his settlement agreement with the SEC from last September.

Tesla has not yet responded to the court filing, but Musk has tweeted a meme.

While Tesla has not yet commented, the SEC has published a series of emails with Musk's counsel, in which Tesla's lawyers admit the 19 February 19 "was not individually pre-approved".

"As a result of his failure to comply with the [settlement, Musk] once again published inaccurate and material information about Tesla to his over 24 million Twitter followers", the SEC said in a press statement. The agency and the Justice Department have both sought information from Tesla over forecasts made in 2017 about Model 3 production.

J.P. Morgan Securities analyst Ryan Brinkman said that in a worst-case scenario, the SEC could again seek Musk's removal as CEO for violating the terms of the agreement and its shares could fall by a fifth, or more than $50, in value.

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As part of that settlement, any material statements made by Mr Musk on social media were to be vetted by the company. And Musk's first tweet wasn't a verbatim restatement, the agency said.

"It's very clear that the SEC is not happy with Musk", said associate professor of law Stephen Diamond at Santa Clara University who specialises in corporate governance.

Musk is either playing games with the SEC, or simply doesn't care.

Musk got even more pointed in December, when he told 60 Minutes "I do not respect the SEC". In his defense, Musk said he didn't think his tweet needed clearance because he was basing it on information that had been disclosed in late January.

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