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Tesla CEO Elon Musk, through his attorney, has accused the Securities and Exchange Commission of leaking information about a federal investigation in order to retaliate for his public criticism of federal financial regulators.
In a letter Monday to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro wrote: “It has become clear and clear that the committee will retaliate against my clients for exercising their First Amendment rights—recently by criticizing the Public Agenda Committee and petitioning this court for relief.” .
The message comes four days after Musk initially claimed that SEC involvement in harassment By constantly investigating him, the agency was trying to freeze his right to freedom of expression, and neglected its duties to transfer $40 million to shareholders Tesla Musk has previously paid fines to settle securities fraud charges.
Spiro did not specify the investigation or what kind of information the Securities and Exchange Commission may have leaked to whom. In the letter, he alleges that at least one member of the Securities and Exchange Commission leaked “certain information relating to its investigations” without providing any supporting evidence.
Spiro could not be reached for comment. The Securities and Exchange Commission did not immediately respond for comment.
The struggle between Musk and the Securities and Exchange Commission began in September 2018 when the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Musk of making “false and misleading” statements to investors after he wrote in Twitter In August of that year he secured enough funding for a massive private purchase of Tesla at $420 a share. The stock swung all month and the deal Musk hinted at never materialized.
Both Musk and Tesla had to pay a fine of $20 million each, and Musk was forced to step down as chairman for at least three years as part of a revised settlement agreement the agency reached with the automaker and CEO in 2019. Tesla had to It also put in place a system to monitor Musk’s public statements about the company—whether on Twitter, in a blog post, or any other medium.
Steven Buchholz of the Securities and Exchange Commission responded to the previous question Friday’s allegations, saying the agency is already making progress on the task of disbursing $40 million to shareholders. He described the task as complex and noted that Tesla and Musk had never expressed any concern about transfers before. He wrote that SEC employees expect to submit a “proposed distribution plan” to the court for approval by the end of March 2022.
Buchholz also wrote that continued communication with Tesla was what Nathan and the revised settlement agreement called for, and that if Musk contested any subpoena, his attorneys should address that in a different motion. There is a different federal legal scheme for challenging a subpoena.
Tesla revealed in its fourth-quarter earnings report for 2021 that the Securities and Exchange Commission Issue a subpoena to the company in November 2021. According to Tesla’s quarterly filing, the agency is seeking information on “governance processes around compliance with the SEC settlement, as amended.”
In the letter on Monday, Spiro revealed some details about the subpoena. He wrote, “The Commission specifically requested documentation relating to my clients’ compliance or non-compliance with Tesla’s disclosure controls and procedures, the Executive Communications Policy, the External Communications Policy, and other policies or procedures relating to public statements or communications by Tesla Executives, or a final judgment or judgment Revised final in SEC against Musk, 1:18-cv-8865-AJN (SDNY).”
He also said that the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a separate but similar subpoena to Musk.
The November subpoena came shortly after Musk polled tens of millions of his Twitter followers asking if he should sell his 10% stake in Tesla. They voted yes. But a large portion of the sales that followed the Twitter poll were part of a plan Musk adopted in September 2021.