SEC Sues Apple Exec and Ex-Canoo CFO for Securities Violations

Ulrich Kranz, a senior executive at Apple working on the company’s electric-car efforts, and Paul Balciunas, former Chief Financial Officer of electric-vehicle startup Canoo, have been sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The federal lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles, accusing the pair of breaking securities rules at Canoo.

Kranz, who previously served as the CEO of Canoo and once led BMW AG’s electric-car business, was accused of providing unreasonable revenue projections and misstating his compensation. Balciunas was also implicated in the alleged misconduct. Both men no longer work at Canoo, reports Bloomberg.

The SEC’s legal action seeks to bar Kranz and Balciunas from serving as officers at public companies and is also demanding fines from both individuals. This lawsuit follows Canoo’s agreement in March to pay $1.5 million as part of a settlement of an SEC investigation into its 2020 merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

The commission’s probe into Canoo began in early 2021, focusing on various aspects of the company’s operations, including its business model, revenues, revenue strategy, customer agreements, earnings, and the recent departures of certain officers.

Kranz has been overseeing hardware design for the secretive Apple car project, which has yet to come to light.

The case, filed under SEC v. Ulrich Kranz, Paul Balciunas, 23-cv-06332, in the US District Court for the Central District of California, adds to the scrutiny of the electric vehicle industry and raises questions about the conduct of executives within the rapidly growing sector.

In 2021, Apple hired Kranz to help lead the company’s vehicle efforts, reporting to project head Kevin Lynch.