Tesla reportedly under criminal investigation by the Justice Department over Musk tweets


Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) said on Tuesday it received a request for documents from the U.S. Department of Justice over Chief Executive Elon Musk's public statements in August about taking the electric carmaker private. It's in an early stage, Bloomberg notes, adding that probes like this can take several months and sometimes end with prosecutors deciding not to take action.

As reported by Futurist, there's been some recent movement back up the scale, but it's still not even close to the $420 per share price that got Tesla into this mess to begin with.

The company is reportedly being investigated for fraud after Musk rattled investors last month when he announced on Twitter that he was considering taking the company private, a process for which he claimed funding had already been "secured".

Instead of apologising for his comments, Musk responded with an expletive-laden statement saying, "I hope he. sues me", according to the lawsuit.

The Justice Department generally does not confirm or deny investigations, spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman in Washington said.

The firm's shares fell by more than 4% after the report, which cited confidential sources. The company said it was co-operating and that the matter "should be quickly resolved". One, which resulted in a subpoena, is scrutinizing Musk's tweets, and the other is looking into whether Musk misled investors over Model 3 production.

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Musk surprised investors on August 7 with his plan to take Tesla private, tweeting that he had "funding secured" for a deal that would have valued the company at $72 billion.

Despite his apology, Musk returned to the topic on August 28, when he tweeted: "You don't think it's odd [Unsworth] hasn't sued me?"

But the stock has since plummeted in the wake of the investigations launched about possible wrongdoing by the company and Musk himself, first by the SEC and now, apparently, by the Justice Department.

Tesla is yet to issue a comment on the criminal investigation.

Vernon Unsworth, who lives north of London, sued over Musk's July 15 tweet to more than 22 million followers referring to him as a "pedo guy", a comment for which Musk later apologized.

"That's not what anyone in the financial markets thinks of when you say 'funding secured, '" said Stephen Diamond, an expert on securities law at Santa Clara University, in an interview with Ars last month.