Tesla Now Facing Criminal Probe Over Elon Musk's Take-Private Tweets

21 Septembre, 2018, 05:52 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Paul Sancya  AP

Tesla is also under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission - a probe into practices and communications which began before Musk publicly considered taking Tesla private, Bloomberg reported. "We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process".

Tesla's shares rose after his tweet, but investors in the company's bonds and convertible debt were sceptical that the tens of billions of dollars needed for the buyout would materialize.

The Justice Department asked Tesla for documents about Musk's announcement, Tesla said, describing it as a "voluntary request".

On Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported that the U.S. Justice Department has started an investigation over public statements made by Musk and the company. "We respect the DOJ's desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received".

A probe by the justice department could take months to complete, and could result in no charges being laid.

SEC enforcement attorneys in the San Francisco office were already investigating Tesla before Musk sent his tweet on taking the company private, Bloomberg reported August 9.

Tesla shares reversed gains and dropped as much as 4.4 percent to $282.

The company, whose stock has slumped 25 percent in the past six weeks amid a string of controversies, could raise $2.5 billion in equity in the fourth quarter from investors that have a strategic interest in its business model, Morgan Stanley analysts including Adam Jonas wrote in a note dated September 18 outlining various possibilities.

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Shares skidded as word spread of a criminal investigation triggered by Musk's Twitter comments.

On Aug. 7, Musk announced on Twitter that funding was "secured".

Musk has also been criticisee for other unorthodox behaviour, including appearing on a podcast smoking marijuana and giving a tell-all interview to The New York Times in which he admitted to feeling overwhelmed and unable to sleep over Tesla's ambitious electric auto production targets.

Musk has taken heat as of late for the take-private bid, after it became nearly immediately clear that he didn't have funding lined up for the deal.

"Service & parts supply in general will be the top Tesla priority after we get through the insane auto delivery logistics of the next few weeks", Musk tweeted.

Now that Musk's tweeting has attracted the Justice Department's attention, investigators there could extend their review to other public statements made by the CEO about the company's health, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.

A series of high-profile departures, including that of chief accounting officer Dave Morton after just a month in the job, and HR executive Gaby Toledano have also rocked the company in recent weeks.

Stephen Crimmins, who spent 14 years at the S.E.C., first as a trial attorney and then deputy chief litigation counsel, told The AP that Musk "speaks loosely" and that his behavior probably won't cross the line into a criminal realm.

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