Musk accuses market regulator of spiteful retaliation

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The Tesla CEO claims the financial watchdog leaked data about a federal investigation in response to his public criticism

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has accused the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of leaking information about a federal investigation in order to get back at him for his public criticism of the financial regulator.

In a letter sent on Monday to a US district judge, Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, said: “It has become clearer and clearer that the Commission is out to retaliate against my clients for exercising their First Amendment rights – most recently by criticizing the Commission on the public docket and by petitioning this Court for relief.

The letter did not specify which investigation or what type of information the SEC – an independent government oversight agency responsible for regulating the securities markets and protecting investors – may have leaked and to whom. It claimed only that at least one of its members had leaked “certain information regarding its investigation.”

Musk and the regulator have been at odds since September 2018, when the SEC charged the billionaire with making “false and misleading” statements on social media in order to lure investors, leading to the volatility of Tesla stock.

Last week, Musk accused the SEC of harassment in continually investigating him, and of trying to “muzzle” him and stop him exercising his right to free speech. He claimed it had neglected to distribute among Tesla shareholders the $40 million that the company and he himself had paid in fines.

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