The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Thursday accused Tesla chief Elon Musk of making false and misleading statements in August when he tweeted that he was “virtually certain” that he could take the electric car company private.
The SEC has asked the court to bar Musk from as a director or officer of a public company, which would mean he would have to step down as the head of Tesla. It is also seeking monetary fines and penalties.
The agency made its allegations in a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Manhattan. The news of the lawsuit was first reported by Bloomberg.
The SEC says Musk never discussed taking the company private at $420 per share with any funding source, contrary to his claim that the funding was “secured.”
At a press conference Thursday, SEC officials said that Musk’s statements about taking Tesla private had “no basis in fact.”
“His tweets that funding was ‘secured’ and that investor support was ‘confirmed’ were simply not true,” an SEC official said.
The SEC said that Musk arrived at the $420 price by taking the then-current share price and adding 20 percent. This added up to $419 dollars. Musk then rounded the number up to $420 because “of the significance of that number in marijuana culture and the belief that his girlfriend would find it amusing,” an SEC official said.
— Tom Randall (@tsrandall) September 27, 2018
Breitbart News will continue to cover this lawsuit and other government actions against Tesla and Musk.
Update: CNBC has posted the SEC complaint here.