Now Tesla could face criminal charges for Musk's 'taking Tesla private' tweet

Now Tesla could face criminal charges for Musk's 'taking Tesla private' tweet

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) said on Tuesday the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating Chief Executive Elon Musk's public statements in August that he was considering taking the electric vehicle maker private, the latest and biggest threat to Musk's leadership.

Sources told Bloomberg the criminal investigation is still in its early stages. Although as reported by Bloomberg, the initial tweet sent its shares higher and now it looks like the Department of Justice is getting involved.

Tesla stock soared after Musk's tweet, growing the company's market cap by almost $4 billion until trading was temporarily halted.

Tesla confirmed in a statement that it received a voluntary request for documents from the Justice Department.

But on Aug 28, Mr Musk tweeted about Mr Unsworth once again, writing: "You don't think it's unusual he hasn't sued me?"

Trump orders public release of Russian Federation documents
And New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen accused the president Tuesday of "trying to undermine an active investigation through reckless declassification".

Investors and analysts have called on the company to replace Musk or to share his responsibilities with a more predictable manager.

Now that Musk's tweeting has attracted the Justice Department's attention, investigators there could extend their review to other public statements made by the CEO about the company's health, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

Musk on August 7 said on Twitter that he was considering taking Tesla private once its stock hit $420, adding that funding had already been secured. "Given the feedback I've received, it's apparent that most of Tesla's existing shareholders believe we are better off as a public company", he wrote on August 24. They might also scrutinize Tesla's accounting practices and whether investors were misinformed about the health of the business, according to media reports. Since then, Tesla has focused itself on its original Q3 2018 targets - that is, the continued production ramp of the Model 3 and the company's aim to become profitable. Elon Musk's net worth was down $370 million for the day at that point, according to Forbes.

However, it isn't really clear what the nature of the investigation is. Currently, the company has collision work done by third parties, and some Tesla owners, Musk says, have waited weeks or months to get their auto back from traditional bodyshops unfamiliar with Teslas.

In a series of tweets on July 15, Mr Musk, who personally delivered the submarine to the cave, wrote that he never saw Mr Unsworth and challenged him to show a video of the final rescue.

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