Billionaire Elon Musk is “deeply saddened” as he has been sued for fraud over his explosive August tweet about taking Tesla private.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Musk of fraud and sought to remove him from his role in charge of Tesla, saying he made a series of “false and misleading” tweets about potentially taking the electric car company private.
Last month, Musk had tweeted to his 22m followers that he might take his California-based company private at $420 per share:
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
Just minutes after the first tweet, Tesla’s head of investor relations texted Musk’s chief of staff to ask whether Musk’s announcement was “legit”, the SEC said.
“In truth and in fact, Musk had not even discussed, much less confirmed, key deal terms, including price, with any potential funding source,” the watchdog added.
Musk said he had done nothing wrong. “This unjustified action by the SEC leaves me deeply saddened and disappointed,” he said in a statement. “Integrity is the most important value in my life and the facts will show I never compromised this in any way.”