Leaked! Elon Musk probe details revealed, says Tesla chief's attorney
An attorney for Elon Musk accused the SEC in a letter to a judge of leaking details of its investigation.
An attorney for Elon Musk accused the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a letter to a judge of leaking details of its investigation, the latest in an ongoing battle between the regulatory agency and the world's richest person. The SEC reached settlements with Tesla Inc. and its chief executive officer in September 2018 after suing Musk over his infamous “funding secured” tweets in which he claimed to have investor support for taking Tesla private at $420 a share.
Earlier this month, Tesla disclosed in a regulatory filing that the agency sought information about the company's governance processes and compliance with the settlements on Nov. 16. Alex Spiro, Musk's outside counsel, claimed in a letter last week that the SEC was targeting Musk with “unrelenting investigation” because the CEO is “an outspoken critic of the government.”
“After I filed the February 17, 2022 letter to this court regarding the commission's conduct, at least one member of the SEC staff responded by leaking certain information regarding its investigation,” Spiro said in a new letter Monday. “This leak is emblematic of the vindictive, improper conduct that occasioned my letter: the SEC is retaliating against Mr. Musk and Tesla, without answering to the constraints of principle or law in so doing.”
Spiro said that in a separate letter, he has requested specific SEC staff to “preserve their records and devices” and has reported the matter to the SEC Office of Inspector General.
Press officials for the SEC didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the filing, which came on a federal holiday. Tesla closed Friday at $856.98 in New York trading.
Musk has also claimed the SEC failed to pay Tesla shareholders $40 million the agency collected in the 2018 settlements over his tweets. The SEC said it has taken time to develop a plan given the complexity of the distribution, and it plans to submit one to the judge by the end of March.
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