Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed on Friday that his Twitter use does not violate a settlement agreement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and that the Agency's request to have him contempt is based on a "radical interpretation" of orders, according to court documents filed in the Manhattan federal court.
SEC has asked a judge to hold Musk contempt to break a settlement agreement reached last year over Musk's now infamous "funding secured" tweet. According to that agreement, Musk must be approved by Tesla's Board before communicating potentially important information to investors.
Musk claims he does not violate the agreement and that the problem lies in the SEC's interpretation, which he describes as "almost wrong at all levels." The submission also shows new details about the conciliation negotiations, especially that the SEC sent Musk a draft agreement who would have required him to receive prior approval for all public statements in connection with Tesla, in any format.
Musk and Tesla never agreed to these terms. Instead, Musk says that the agreement requires him to follow Tesla's own policy, which would require prior approval for "written communications containing or reasonably containing information material to the company or its shareholders."
The booklets traded through court applications are the latest in an escalating struggle between the billionaire entrepreneur and the SEC, which began in August in August when Musk tweeted that he had "funded" for a private takeover of the company to $ 420 per share. The SEC filed a complaint in the Federal District Court in September claiming that Musk lied.
Musk and Tesla settled with SEC last year without acknowledging errors. Tesla agreed to pay a $ 20 million fine. Musk must agree to go down as a Tesla chairman for a period of at least three years. The company had to appoint two independent board members on the board; and Tesla was also told that one could introduce a way to monitor Musk's statements to the public about the company, even via Twitter.
But the fight was re-ignited last month after Musk sent a tweet on February 1
The SEC claimed that the tweet sent by Musk violated its agreement. Musk has said that the tweet was "indispensable" and followed the deal.