Judge asks Tesla, SEC to justify settlement of fraud lawsuit

Kanye West performs during the World AIDS Day concert In Times Square in New York on Dec. 1 2014.					Charles Sykes The Canadian Press via AP

In a tweet referring to the SEC as "Shortseller Enrichment Commission", Musk wrote sarcastically that the regulator was "doing incredible work".

The SEC has responded by denying any plans for a name change, but won't be drawn on the content of the Tweet.

Musk has frequently sparred with short sellers who have bet against the company, and his tweet suggests he believes the SEC acted to benefit his enemies. After falling 4.4 percent during the regular trading session, Tesla's stock price fell by another two percent in the minutes after Musk tweeted.

On the same day, Musk mocked the SEC on Twitter, calling it the "Shortseller Enrichment Commission".

The settlements were related to Musk's infamous "funding secured" tweets regarding a potential move to take Tesla public.

The tweet on Thursday was "plainly a statement that the SEC's case against Musk lacked merit", Crimmins said.

It seems that the committee will start overseeing things in a few months, so we have about 80 days remaining of potential Twitter adventures with Musk. That's a year longer, and $10 million more, than a deal Musk had arrogantly turned down earlier in the week.

The deal also calls for Tesla to pay a $20 million fine and vet any social media posts by Musk that could have a material impact on the company's finances.

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The SEC declined to comment.

Also in the mix, Musk said early Friday morning on Twitter that Tesla is releasing the ninth version of Autopilot, Tesla's automated driver assistance system, but that it is holding back the release of a widely anticipated feature that would have given the system a considerably greater degree of control over the vehicle, allowing the system to guide the auto on and off the highway.

Musk's sarcastic tweet could cause Nathan to reject the settlement if it gives her reason to believe that he "has no intention or ability to change his conduct", said Erik Gordon, a business professor at the University of MI.

That Musk stirred further controversy on Twitter could irk regulators, since his tweets are what prompted the SEC's accusations.

Ever since August, Elon Musk has been riding a rollercoaster he himself set in motion.

Tesla's total deliveries for the third quarter easily topped Wall Street's expectations this week, but a coming quarterly earnings report and CEO Elon Musk's departure as board chairman have analysts turning their attention back toward the electric-car maker's balance sheet.

US District Court Judge Alison Nathan asked on Thursday that both Musk and the SEC supply justification for the settlement reached over the Tesla privatisation fiasco.

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