Tesla CEO Elon Musk described fraud charges filed Thursday by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission an “unjustified action” that has left him “deeply saddened and disappointed” in a statement sent to TechCrunch.
The SEC alleges in a complaint filed against the CEO that Musk lied when he tweeted on August 7 that he had “funding secured” for a takeover of the company at $420 per share. The SEC complaint, filed in federal district court in the Southern District of New York, identified the tweets as “false and misleading.”
Here is Musk’s entire statement:
“This unjustified action by the SEC leaves me deeply saddened and disappointed. I have always taken action in the best interests of truth, transparency and investors. Integrity is the most important value in my life and the facts will show I never compromised this in any way.”
In August, Musk sent a tweet that he had secured funding and was considering taking Tesla private. The tweet wasn’t warmly embraced by the Tesla board or many shareholders and it’s what prompted the SEC to investigate.
Musk’s tweets caused Tesla’s stock price to jump by more than 6 percent on August 7, and led to significant market disruption, according to the SEC’s complaint. The SEC alleges that Musk violated antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, and is seeking a permanent injunction, disgorgement and civil penalties. The commission also wants to bar the billionaire entrepreneur from serving as an officer or director of a public company.
The securities fraud complaint caused shares to plummet more than 13% in after-hours trading.
Several weeks later the company posted a blog announcing that Tesla will remain a public company.
The SEC’s investigation is continuing, according to the organization.