Tesla shares fall after Musk trolls USA securities watchdog

Tesla shares fall after Musk trolls USA securities watchdog

Tesla (TSLA) shares were already down 5 percent Friday morning, a day after Musk sent out a tweet that appeared to mock the Securities and Exchange Commission , with whom Musk is trying to settle allegations of fraud.

Musk's tweet came the same day that Judge Alison Nathan, a US District Court judge in NY, requested a joint letter explaining why she should approve the tentative settlement deal between Musk and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC has responded by denying any plans for a name change, but won't be drawn on the content of the Tweet.

In court papers and at a news conference, the regulator went to great lengths to spell out Musk's carelessness and erratic behavior, highlighting his threat earlier this year to "burn" investors betting against Tesla stock.

The SEC declined to comment Thursday.

Musk used his Twitter account to jab the Securities and Exchange Commission, the same agency that went after him for an August 7 tweet in which he declared he had secured financing for a Tesla buyout.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk apparently blasted federal regulators Thursday, less than a week after striking a settlement with them to resolve accusations that he misled investors with false statements.

"Tesla and the board of directors are fully confident in Elon, his integrity, and his leadership of the company, which has resulted in the most successful USA auto company in over a century", the board said. The company also accepted a $20 million fine, despite not being charged with fraud.

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Tesla's total deliveries for the third quarter easily topped Wall Street's expectations this week, but a coming quarterly earnings report and CEO Elon Musk's departure as board chairman have analysts turning their attention back toward the electric-car maker's balance sheet.

Musk agreed in the settlement to pay a US$20 million fine.

Greenlight Capital, an investment firm who had just short sold Tesla stocks, felt particularly irritated.

In a separate rambling tweet, he took another shot at short-sellers and accused BlackRock Inc of enabling them by saying, "The big funds can & will, as they're suffering a net loss".

But Musk had not secured the funding, the SEC said.

Yet on Friday, Musk fired off another damn-the-consequences tweet, calling the SEC the "shortseller enrichment committee".

Musk's barb at the SEC didn't violate the settlement because he didn't explicitly criticize as it as being unfair or unwarranted, said Peter Henning, a Wayne State law professor who was formerly an SEC attorney.

The settlement also required Tesla's board to implement procedures for reviewing Musk's communications with investors, which include tweets.