Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk violated his agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission by tweeting inaccurate information and should be held in contempt, the federal agency said Monday in a court filing.
Elon Musk has kept Tesla Inc. investors on their toes for more than six months with his tweeting and scuffles with US financial regulators.
Musk later followed up the tweet with a clarification that stated, "Meant to say annualized production rate at end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week".
Now Bloomberg reports that the SEC is asking a judge to hold Musk in contempt for tweeting Tesla "will make around 500K in 2019".
Although the tweet was not pre-approved, the lawyer wrote, Musk believed its substance had been "appropriately vetted, pre-approved and publicly disseminated".
But Musk also spoke of his "great respect for judges".
The request made Monday in NY resurrects a dispute between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Musk that was supposed to have been resolved with a settlement reached five months ago.
The next day, the SEC asked the company whether the tweets had been reviewed before being published.
The SEC sues Musk over that tweet, saying he misled investors by claiming falsely he had lined up funding for the take-private transaction.
'He is looking like a repeat offender and a bad actor, ' said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.
But the SEC argues that Musk broke this promise with last week's tweet.
Musk provoked the SEC even after the settlement was signed, calling the agency the "Shortseller Enrichment Commission" on Twitter in October. In the settlement, Musk kept control of Tesla, but he was stripped of the title of board chairman and ordered to pay a $20 million fine. As part of the settlement, Tesla agreed to review Musk's market-moving tweets and public statements before he published them.
Tesla's legal team realized Musk may have crossed a line with his February 19 tweet about vehicle manufacturing, according to the SEC.
Musk went on to say that "I do not respect the SEC ..."