Elon Musk may rue the day he tweeted “Funding secured.” The SEC is already known to be examining the actions that led Musk to ill-advisedly tweet that he had secured funding to take Tesla private, but according to new reports, the DOJ is investigating the situation as well. The entire affair reflects spectacularly poorly on Musk, whose erratic behavior this past summer and spring has been the subject of extensive reporting.
The criminal probe is running alongside the civil inquiry, according to Bloomberg, and Tesla confirmed being contacted by the DOJ:
Last month, following Elon’s announcement that he was considering taking the company private, Tesla received a voluntary request for documents from the DOJ and has been cooperative in responding to it,” the company said in a statement released Tuesday following Bloomberg’s report of the investigation. “We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process. We respect the DOJ’s desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received.
Tesla’s shares were sent skidding lower by the announcement but have since rebounded slightly.
Musk hasn’t had the best of weeks. He’s also facing a lawsuit from cave diver Vernon Unsworth, who has sued Musk for his remarks referring to Unsworth as “pedo guy.” This was after Unsworth criticized Musk’s proposed diving capsule, which the billionaire offered as part of the rescue attempt to reach 12 Thai boys trapped in an underground cave with their soccer coach earlier this summer. While Musk apologized initially, he later doubled down on the original accusation, telling Buzzfeed:
I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you fucking asshole. He’s an old, single white guy from England who’s been traveling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years, mostly Pattaya Beach, until moving to Chiang Rai for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time.
Unsworth first traveled to Thailand in 2011, not 30-40 years ago. He is in a long-term relationship with Woranan Ratrawiphukkun, 40. Musk has provided no evidence whatsoever of his claims at any point, nor explained why he would attack a man he supposedly knew to be a child molester via Twitter and email rather than turning over evidence to the authorities.
Musk has been acting increasingly erratic throughout 2018. In addition to baselessly accusing people of being child rapists — his words, not ours — he’s also blown off investors on conference calls, misrepresented data gathered from Tesla’s autopilot system in a fatal crash, attacked the NTSB publicly, demanded employees risk their own jobs to save contract positions at Tesla, and acknowledged in interviews that this year has been one of the most stressful of his life. The one thing he won’t do, at least thus far, is stay away from Twitter.
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