Elon Musk agrees to pay $20 million and quit as Tesla chairman in deal with SEC

Elon Musk agreed Saturday to step down as chairman of Tesla and pay a $20 million fine in a deal to settle c...

Posted: Oct 1, 2018 10:44 AM
Updated: Oct 1, 2018 10:44 AM

Elon Musk agreed Saturday to step down as chairman of Tesla and pay a $20 million fine in a deal to settle charges brought this week by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Under the settlement, which requires court approval, Musk will be allowed to stay as CEO but must leave his role as chairman of the board within 45 days. He cannot seek reelection for three years, according to court filings.

He accepted the deal with the SEC "without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint," according to a court document.

Separately, Tesla agreed Saturday to pay $20 million to settle claims it failed to adequately police Musk's tweet.

"The $40 million in penalties will be distributed to harmed investors under a court-approved process," the SEC said in a press release.

The company also agreed to appoint two new independent directors to its board and establish a board committee to oversee Musk's communications.

Tesla declined to comment. A spokesperson confirmed Musk will be permitted to remain a member of the board.

The announcement from the SEC comes two days after the agency filed a lawsuit against Musk, claiming he misled investors. The suit centers on tweets Musk sent on August 7 in which he said he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 a share, causing the company's stock to soar. He had not secured the funding, the SEC said.

The lawsuit sought to ban Musk from serving as an officer or director of any publicly traded company.

Musk called the SEC's suit "unjustified."

"I have always taken action in the best interests of truth, transparency and investors," he said. "Integrity is the most important value in my life and the facts will show I never compromised this in any way."

CNBC, citing unnamed sources, reported that the agency filed the suit on Thursday after Musk refused an earlier settlement offer. Under that deal, Musk would have had to pay a "nominal fine" and leave his role as chairman for two years. He chose not to accept the terms because "because he felt that by settling he would not be truthful to himself," according to the outlet.

A representative for Musk did not immediately reply to CNN's request for comment Saturday.

Jay Dubow, a partner at Pepper Hamilton and a veteran of the SEC's enforcement division, said it was "unusual" that the SEC agreed to let Musk stay on as chief executive but exit the chairman role.

It's surprising considering "the conduct at issue, if [the SEC] really thought it was egregious," Dubow said. "The CEO is certainly more involved than the chairman in day-to-day operations."

He suggested the SEC may have determined that removing Musk as CEO would cause more harm to Tesla's share price, and thus harm investors.

Barclays analyst Brian Johnson estimated in a recent note that Tesla's stock has a $130 "Musk premium," which could disappear if he leaves.

Still unclear is whether or not the Department of Justice will file criminal charges against Musk.

Tesla confirmed earlier this month that the DOJ was investigating whether Musk's comments about taking his company private constituted criminal activity.

Dubow, the former SEC official, said he suspects nothing will come of it.

"My guess is that it's still possible the DOJ will pursue something, but...it's more likely than not that the DOJ chooses not to pursue this," he said.

The settlement has likely assuaged the SEC, mitigating the DOJ's incentive to act.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 155246

Reported Deaths: 4065
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25151785
Lake13570355
St. Joseph9145161
Elkhart8759135
Allen8129228
Hamilton6117113
Vanderburgh576760
Tippecanoe369515
Hendricks3268133
Monroe325738
Porter313649
Johnson3105128
Clark293961
Delaware293274
Vigo260538
Madison235093
Cass224022
LaPorte222858
Warrick192965
Kosciusko182625
Floyd179167
Howard162466
Bartholomew141558
Dubois138626
Marshall137426
Wayne126930
Henry125429
Grant125339
Boone122250
Hancock118245
Noble115933
Jackson112915
Dearborn94928
Morgan93740
Lawrence87436
Daviess87133
Gibson87111
Clinton84716
Shelby81730
LaGrange80115
Harrison76224
Knox75610
Putnam72816
Posey7146
DeKalb71011
Fayette66618
Steuben6278
Miami6095
Jasper5945
White58515
Montgomery58322
Greene53337
Scott51813
Decatur50439
Adams4837
Whitley4556
Clay4467
Ripley4418
Sullivan43714
Wells4288
Wabash4119
Starke4077
Orange40425
Huntington3905
Spencer3906
Washington3753
Franklin37225
Jennings36713
Fulton3523
Randolph3529
Jefferson3415
Pike33018
Carroll32513
Perry31014
Jay3056
Fountain2943
Tipton27523
Vermillion2411
Parke2323
Newton22511
Rush2154
Blackford2093
Owen2051
Martin1990
Crawford1581
Pulaski1521
Brown1393
Ohio1297
Benton1100
Union1100
Switzerland920
Warren781
Unassigned0234

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 190430

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin31466640
Cuyahoga19706682
Hamilton16687343
Montgomery10377189
Lucas8285373
Butler8276129
Summit6689265
Warren420064
Stark3796181
Mahoning3709286
Marion338850
Pickaway301146
Delaware287227
Lorain272889
Fairfield264457
Licking257966
Wood249681
Clark249456
Clermont245938
Greene229242
Trumbull2270134
Allen213073
Columbiana212887
Miami199958
Lake193659
Medina185642
Portage162068
Mercer152128
Wayne140269
Ross139436
Richland132324
Tuscarawas129024
Athens12052
Erie115553
Darke114451
Madison105415
Hancock104725
Auglaize100616
Putnam97427
Lawrence93025
Shelby90914
Muskingum8884
Geauga85950
Scioto8599
Belmont78827
Union7583
Ashtabula72648
Sandusky71122
Huron70912
Preble62418
Holmes61710
Seneca60114
Ottawa58430
Fulton53711
Henry47317
Jefferson4694
Clinton46413
Defiance46013
Jackson4598
Crawford4528
Fayette4498
Highland4304
Logan4233
Ashland3986
Champaign3983
Knox38416
Brown3793
Perry36611
Washington35124
Morrow3442
Hardin33613
Williams3354
Coshocton32112
Guernsey3218
Pike3000
Wyandot29513
Gallia29113
Van Wert2633
Meigs21012
Adams2096
Paulding2012
Carroll2007
Hocking1979
Monroe16118
Noble1290
Vinton963
Harrison803
Morgan780
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 64°
Angola
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 63°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 65°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 61°
Van Wert
Broken Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 61°
Friday Afternoon Showers & Thunderstorms
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events