Elon Musk reaches SEC agreement on his Twitter usage

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The development comes in response to SEC's filing against Musk in contempt of a fraud settlement a year ago after the CEO tweeted details about Tesla production numbers that were not vetted by the electric vehicle company's attorneys, CNBC reported on Thursday.

That agreement, made public today by the SEC, adds greater clarity to the restrictions on Mr Musk's communications, on Twitter or elsewhere. Musk said he hadn't violated the agreement. Though Musk agreed to these terms, nearly immediately afterward, he put on a public show of contempt for the regulatory body and he apparently never ran a single tweet by the company's lawyers as the original settlement called for.

The late Friday agreement set new parameters for what Musk can not post about on social media without pre-approval from a securities lawyer.

That's a lot more specific than what had already been in place. Those range from Tesla's financial condition and results through potential mergers, sales numbers, new business lines and changes in control or top executive positions.

Such other topics as the Company or the majority of the independent members of its Board of Directors may request, if it or they believe pre-approval of communications regarding such additional topics would protect the interests of the Company's shareholders.

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The agency viewed Musk's tweet as a violation of the settlement it reached with the Tesla CEO a year ago over his now-infamous "420" tweet about taking the company private.

Judge Nathan, who has presided over the case so far, still needs to approve the amendment. It was determined that the rules the SEC set for Musk's tweets were too ambiguous.

Musk and the SEC had been at each other's throats for months. It follows an October agreement that required him to step down as chairman and pay $20 million (Dh73m) to settle charges that he defrauded investors with false claims on Twitter in August about a possible bid to take the company private, which was quickly abandoned.

The origins of the long-running dispute come from a Musk tweet where he said "funding secured" for a go-private deal at $420/share. The tweet was misleading, the SEC argued, because Tesla was on track to produce up to 400,000 vehicles in 2019.

This "material" information that Musk inaccurately used prompted the SEC to file a petition with the judge asking that Musk be held in contempt. Musk and his lawyers responded with a filing of their own that accused the SEC of obsessing over Musk because they felt insulted and were out to silence Musk's free speech rights as revenge.

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