SEC, or Shortseller? Elon Musk appears to mock agency following $40m settlement

Poking the bear may not be so wise, especially considering it was a tweet which caused commotion in the first place.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Days after settling a securities fraud complaint with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), entrepreneur and Tesla CEO Elon Musk doesn't appear to have learned when to stop.

In a tweet, Musk appears to be mocking the US agency by saying, "Just want to that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work. And the name change is so on point!"


It was mere days ago that Musk and SEC agreed on a settlement to avoid a potentially lengthy battle over claims of securities fraud.

Ironic as it is, the argument between the two was also caused by a tweet. In August, the Tesla executive said, "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured. Shareholders could either to sell at 420 or hold shares & go private."

The possibility of Tesla going private caused upheaval not only for shareholders caught unawares but also caused turbulence in the stock market.

While some investors then came forward and confirmed that meetings had taken place in which Musk had raised the possibility of taking Tesla private, the message also caught the attention of SEC, which demanded an explanation.

In the world of stocks, shares, and valuations, minor variations implied by major executives can cause ripples which turn into waves.

In Musk's case, the suggested price of $420 -- which was reportedly published simply in order to amuse his girlfriend -- set Tesla's valuation at roughly $70 billion, far beyond market cap.

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As a result, SEC then sued Musk over the tweet, which the US agency said was "misleading" and caused "significant market disruption."

SEC charged the executive with securities fraud which led to the settlement in which Musk must pay $20 million and Tesla must also cough up a further $20 million.

In addition, Musk will step down as Tesla's Chairman and will not seek re-election for at least three years. However, he will retain his position as CEO.

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When a misjudged tweet costs $40 million, perhaps it would be best to lay low for a while. As the settlement is still under review, it will be interesting to see whether the SEC may try to review its stance due to the implication that the agency is acting under the desire to enrich investors and not in the interest of fairness.

See also: The $40 million tweet: Elon Musk settles with SEC, Tesla bears the brunt

At market close, Tesla stocks fell by 4.4 percent at $281.83 and slid by an additional 2.2 percent following the latest tweet by Musk.

As part of the settlement, Tesla executives are meant to monitor Musk's posts in the interest of the company and investors. If Musk continues on his one-man Twitter crusade, perhaps they will see a need for more firm action when it comes to the executive's use of social media platforms -- especially as these messages now have the power to impact the share price of the company.

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