Elon Musk Slams the SEC as ‘Bastards’ Over Forced 2018 Settlement [VIDEO]
Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Thursday spoke at the 2022 TED Talk in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
Interviewer Chris Anderson — the head of TED — asked Musk about everything from Tesla’s future to his $43 billion USD offer to buy social media platform Twitter.
Anderson touched a bit upon Tesla’s past as well, asking the company’s CEO about his and Tesla’s 2018 settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after the government watchdog launched an investigation into an August 2018 tweet from Musk saying he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private.
Musk supposedly exposed the SEC in his response, noting the regulator knew he had the funding but launched a public investigation regardless. “I was forced to admit that I lied to save Tesla’s life,” Musk said of the settlement.
With Tesla back in the day, the funding was actually secured. I wanna be clear about that. ln fact, this may be a good opportunity to clarify that. Funding was indeed secured. And I should say why I do not have respect for the SEC in that situation, and I don’t mean to blame everyone at the SEC but certainly the San Francisco office. It’s because the SEC knew that funding was secured, but they pursued an act of public investigation nonetheless.
At the time, Tesla was in a precarious financial situation, and I was told by the banks that if I did not agree to settle with the SEC, they [the banks] would cease providing working capital and Tesla would go bankrupt immediately. So, that’s like having a gun to your child’s head. I was forced to concede to the SEC unlawfully, those bastards, and now they made it look like I lied when I did not in fact lie. I was forced to admit that I lied to save Tesla’s life, and that’s the only reason.
As part of the original settlement, both Tesla and Musk paid civil fines of $20 million each after the SEC brought a lawsuit alleging Musk defrauded the company’s investors with his “funding secured” tweet.
The settlement funds have since grown to about $41.2 million including interest, per the SEC. Last month, a federal judge approved the SEC’s proposed distribution plan for the settlement amount, which is intended to be paid out to Tesla shareholders.
Musk also agreed to step down as Tesla chairman as part of the settlement agreement, and have a company lawyer pre-approve all of his tweets before they are posted. The Tesla CEO is currently looking to relieve his Twitter account of SEC oversight.
Earlier this month, Musk petitioned a judge to stop the SEC’s oversight of his Twitter after previously alleging that the watchdog leaked trade information from its probe into Tesla.
Musk in February accused the SEC of conducting “unfounded investigations” against him and his company, to which the agency responded days later.
You can check out Musk’s full session at the 2022 TED Talk in the video below: