Tesla says Justice Dept. investigating CEO Elon Musk tweets

Sept. 19 (UPI) — Automaker Tesla has confirmed that a federal investigation is underway over CEO Elon Musk’s tweets about taking the company private.

The Justice Department is looking into the tweets Musk made last month that said he was considering taking the publicly-traded company private and that he had “funding secured.”

The electric automaker issued a statement Wednesday addressing the probe.

“Tesla received a voluntary request for documents from the DOJ and has been cooperative in responding to it,” Tesla said. “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.”

Shares fell as much as 7 percent Tuesday and Wednesday as investors reacted to the news.

Musk exposed himself to legal risk with the Aug. 7 tweet that said he had funding a for buyout when that may not have been the case, Bloomberg reported. Musk said a week later his basis for the statement was that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund had expressed interest in helping take Tesla private last year.

Bloomberg cited two people familiar with the matter in its report. The investigation is in its early stages and could take months.

Musk ultimately decided against privatization.

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