US SEC to Elon Musk: As for your tweets, a deal is a deal

NEW YORK, March 22 (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday urged a federal judge not to let Elon Musk escape an agreement requiring his use of Twitter to be monitored, which Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) CEO considers as part of a harassment campaign.

In a Manhattan federal court case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Musk had not met its “high burden” of overriding a 2018 consent decree requiring Tesla’s attorneys to approve tweets and other public statements that could be essential for his electric car company.

It’s not enough that Musk found compliance “less convenient than he had hoped,” or wished the SEC would stop investigating Tesla’s disclosure procedures.

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“When it comes to civilian settlements, an agreement is an agreement, without far more convincing circumstances, than what is presented here,” the SEC said.

The regulator also urged U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, who oversees the decree, to reject Musk’s bid to cancel a lawsuit requesting registrations regarding his Twitter vote last November on whether to sell 10% of his Tesla. shares.

Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Musk, declined to comment. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Legal experts have said Musk is unlikely to have the decree overturned.

Earlier Tuesday, Musk danced and joked with fans as he watched the opening of Tesla’s first European factory, located near Berlin, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz present. Read more

Tesla also has a factory in Shanghai. According to Forbes magazine, the company has made Musk the richest person in the world.

The SEC dispute stems from the regulator’s claim that Musk deceived investors on August 7, 2018 by tweeting that he had “secured financing” to potentially take his electric car company private at an overprice, while a buyout was not really close.

Tesla and Musk decided by each paying a $ 20 million civil fine, with Musk resigning as Tesla’s president.

Musk has since accused the SEC of harassing him with “wandering and unbound” investigations in a malicious attempt to punish him for criticizing the government and exercising its constitutional right to freedom of expression under the First Amendment. Read more

But the SEC said it has broad authority and a “legitimate purpose” to investigate Musk and Tesla, and that Musk could only oppose the lawsuit through an enforcement action.

“Musk is complaining about the ‘large number of claims’ from the SEC from 2018 to today, which he characterizes as harassment,” the SEC said.

“But Musk’s own chronology of alleged claims is both subversive and reflects legitimate inquiries about new potentially abusive behavior from Tesla and Musk,” it added.

The lawsuit was related to Musk’s tweet that he would discharge 10% of his Tesla share if users approved.

A majority did, and the poll caused Tesla’s share price to fall. Musk has since sold more than $ 16 billion of Tesla shares.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stamp in New York; Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington, DC, Hyun Joo Jin in San Francisco and Victoria Waldersee and Nadine Schimroszik in Gruenheide, Germany; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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