Legal

SEC Chairman Says Tesla Case Is Settled Despite Musk Tweet

Despite Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk’s early October tweet in which he called the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission,” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said the issue is settled.

Speaking during an appearance on CNBC on Tuesday (Nov. 27), Clayton expressed surprise that Musk posted the tweet, but went on to say that “as far as I’m concerned, that matter is settled.”

In September, Tesla and Musk agreed to pay a $20 million fine to the SEC over Musk’s August tweet, in which he said he was thinking about taking Tesla private and had the funding secured for the deal. That sent the stock surging, but a deal never materialized. Musk and Tesla settled the charges without admitting or denying the charges by the SEC.

As part of the settlement, Musk has to be more restrained on Twitter. His tweet in October, as a result, prompted speculation that the SEC could review the settlement agreement. “I think it was an appropriate settlement, one that sent a message to the marketplace, letting CEOs know that if they speak, they need to speak accurately,” Clayton said on CNBC.

Separately, Reuters reported on Tuesday (Nov. 27) that sales of Tesla’s vehicles in China declined 70 percent in October. Citing the China Passenger Car Association, Reuters said that Tesla sold 211 cars in October in China, which happens to be the world’s biggest vehicle market. In October, Tesla said the tariffs have been hurting sales in China.

In a statement to Reuters, a Tesla spokesman said the data is incorrect, but declined to provide any internal sales numbers. “This is wildly inaccurate. While we do not disclose regional or monthly sales numbers, these figures are off by a significant margin,” he said. The drop in sales in China sent shares of Tesla’s stock declining in trading earlier.

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