In-Brief: SEC Fines Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk stepped down as Chairman of the Board for three years and agreed to pay $20 million in fines in a deal with the Security and Exchange Commission. The SEC brought suit against Musk last Thursday for fraud, after Musk tweeted an announcement that Tesla would become a private company with “funding secured.” Tesla’s shares increased over six percent in one day, but Musk did not actually have the $70 billion required to privatize the company.

Although Musk did not admit to misleading investors in his deal with the SEC, his fine, as well as an additional $20 million fine paid by Tesla, will repay those influenced by the promise of privatization at $420 per share. A SEC press release following the deal stated, “The $40 million in penalties will be distributed to harmed investors under a court-approved process.”

In addition to the fine, Tesla has agreed to make internal reforms aimed at improved communication with its investors. Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said,  “The resolution is intended to prevent further market disruption and harm to Tesla’s shareholders.”