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Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, through his attorney, accused the Securities and Exchange Commission of leaking information about a federal investigation in retaliation for his public criticism of the companies. federal financial regulator.
In a letter Monday to US District Judge Alison Nathan, Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro wrote: “It is becoming increasingly clear that the Commission is acting in retaliation against my client for taking the their First Amendment rights – most recently by criticizing the Commission on publicity and by asking this Court to mitigate.”
The letter came four days after Musk initially alleged that The SEC has engaged in harassment by repeatedly investigating him, that the agency was trying to reduce his freedom of speech and had ignored their duty to pass on $40 million to shareholders. Tesla and Musk previously paid fines to settle securities fraud charges.
Spiro did not specify what investigation or what type of information may have been leaked by the SEC and to whom. In the letter, he alleges that at least one member of the SEC leaked “certain information relevant to their investigation” without providing any supporting evidence.
Spiro could not be immediately reached for comment. The SEC did not immediately respond to comment.
The conflict between Musk and the SEC began in September 2018 when the SEC accused Musk of making “false and misleading” statements to investors after he wrote on Twitter That August, he secured enough financing for a large private Tesla acquisition at $420 a share. Stocks fell for the whole month, and the deal Musk alluded to would never materialize.
Musk and Tesla each had to pay $20 million in fines, and Musk was forced to step down as chairman for at least three years as part of a revised settlement the agency reached with the automaker and Tesla. CEO in 2019. Tesla also has to give. put in place a system to monitor Musk’s statements to the public about the company – whether on Twitter, in a blog post or any other medium.
Steven Buchholz of the SEC previously answered allegation on friday, says the agency is actually making progress on its mission to disburse $40 million to shareholders. He thinks the task is complicated, and notes that Tesla and Musk have never expressed any concerns about the transfer before. SEC employees are expected to submit a “proposed distribution plan” to the court for approval by the end of March 2022, he wrote.
Buchholz also wrote that constant communication with Tesla was what Nathan and the revised settlement required, and that if Musk objects to any subpoenas, his attorney should deal with it. with another move. There is another federal statutory program to oppose subpoenas.
Tesla revealed in its Q4 2021 earnings report that the SEC issue a subpoena to the company in November 2021. According to Tesla’s quarterly filing, the agency is seeking information on “the governance processes surrounding compliance with the SEC settlement, as amended.”
Spiro revealed in the letter Monday some details about that subpoena. “The committee specifically requested documents regarding my client’s compliance or non-compliance with Tesla’s disclosure controls and procedures, executive communications policy, external communications policy, and the like,” he wrote. in addition, other policies or procedures relating to public statements or communications of Tesla executives, or the final judgment or final judgment as amended in the SEC v. Musk, 1: 18-cv-8865-AJN (SDNY).’
He also said the SEC had issued a separate but similar subpoena against Musk.
The November subpoena came shortly after Musk polled tens of millions of Twitter followers to ask if he should sell his 10% stake in Tesla. They voted yes. But a major part of the revenue following the Twitter poll was part of a plan Musk approved in September 2021.