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Elon Musk Takes a Swing at the S.E.C., in a Tweet

Category: Business,Finance

Elon Musk can’t say he did anything wrong, but he can let you know how he feels about the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Less than a week after he reached a settlement with federal regulators who had sued him, claiming he misled investors, Mr. Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, called the agency the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission” in a Twitter post on Thursday.

A Tesla spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The post brought together two of Mr. Musk’s most notable foils.

Mr. Musk has frequently criticized so-called short-sellers who have bet against Tesla. And the terms of the settlement with the commission prevent him from saying he did nothing wrong in his communications with investors.

The post appeared the same day that Judge Alison J. Nathan of Federal District Court in Manhattan asked the S.E.C. and lawyers for Mr. Musk and Tesla to submit in writing, by next Thursday, the reasons the settlement should be approved. Her order said this was her standard procedure for evaluating an agreement.

The S.E.C. declined to comment Thursday on the tweet.

It was a Twitter post that began Mr. Musk’s path to a settlement with the commission. In August, he tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share. “Funding secured,” he wrote.

But the S.E.C. found that Mr. Musk had overstated the matter and sued him, accusing him of securities fraud. After initially pulling out of an agreement to resolve the claims, he reached a settlement on Saturday that will require him to step down as chairman for three years and pay a $20 million fine.

The settlement also requires Tesla to add two independent directors to its board, and to set up a committee to review Mr. Musk’s communications directed at investors, including his posts on Twitter and other social media.


[Read more about the agreement with the S.E.C. and what led to it.]

Mr. Musk has been relatively quiet on Twitter since the settlement. On Monday, he tweeted a link to a music video by the group Naughty by Nature with a winking emoji. Just before his jab at the commission and short-sellers on Thursday, he responded to a Business Insider tweet that had given Tesla’s Model 3 sedan a positive review.

“Great verdict,” he wrote.

Over the weekend, when Mr. Musk sent out an email to employees saying that the company was nearing profitability, the company responded by filing that statement with the S.E.C. to avoid any regulatory issues.


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