Monday, 10 December, 2018

Elon Musk resigns, pays $20m fine in settlement with SEC

SEC Lawsuit Against Musk Wiped $7.3 Billion From Tesla’s Market Value Elon Musk agrees to step down as Tesla Chairman, to pay $20 million fine
Orlando Vargas | 01 October, 2018, 21:39

Investors in electric auto maker Tesla were buoyed by news that Elon Musk will have to step down as chairman of the firm.

The settlement, reached on Saturday, comes after Musk initially rejected the charges, claiming they were "unjustified".

The message from the Tesla boss could bring some cheer to the workers as the last few weeks had been quite tumultuous for Musk who had on Saturday agreed to step down as chairman of the company for three years and pay a $20 million fine in a deal with the USA stock market regulatory authority, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to resolve securities fraud charges.

Whoever becomes the new chairperson of Tesla Motors will face the formidable task of reining in Elon Musk, the charismatic, visionary chief executive with an impulsive streak, while also helping Musk achieve his dream of turning Tesla into a profitable, mass-market producer of environmentally friendly electric cars.

Tesla's shares soared 16% on Monday after chief executive Elon Musk settled a fraud lawsuit with the United States regulator.

In the immediate aftermath of the "funding secured" tweet, Tesla stock rose by six per cent.

Tesla shares had sank last week after the SEC filed a lawsuit accusing Musk of securities fraud and demanding the Silicon Valley billionaire be removed his role as chief executive.

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Neither Musk nor Tesla admitted or denied the SEC's findings as part of the settlement.

As part of the settlement, the company will appoint a new independent chairman, two independent directors and control Musk's communications.

The company has recently been struggling to meet audacious production goals for its Model 3 sedan.

Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC's Enforcement Division said the resolution is meant to prevent further market disruption and harm to Tesla investors. Tesla itself has also been slapped with a $20 million fine by the SEC, making Musk's tweet one of the most expensive in history.

After filing the lawsuit, SEC officials were anticipating a drawn-out legal battle, but settlement talks started up again late Friday after Musk's attorney Steven Farina sent an email asking to reopen the discussions.

Musk is now required to step down as chairman of Tesla within 45 days, and he is not permitted to be re-elected to the post for three years.

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