Elon Musk has denied passing information that could have harmed Tesla’s stock price to his brother Kimbal, after a report that the pair were investigated for insider trading by the US regulators.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating a sale of shares in the electric car company by Kimbal Musk the day before his brother launched a Twitter poll last November on whether he should sell much of his own stake in the company, Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Tesla’s share price fell 5% on the first trading day after the poll, which was supported by an overwhelming majority of people voting.
Responding to a query from the FT, Musk said in an email, “Kimbal didn’t know I was going to do a Twitter poll.”
He also claimed that Tesla’s lawyers were “aware” that he was going to conduct the survey. The typically unconventional move led to questions about whether Musk had notified the company’s attorneys, as he was required to do by an earlier settlement with the SEC.
The investigative report comes days after Musk’s attorneys accused the SEC of mounting a harassment campaign against him.
“The idea that I care if my brother could sell stocks for a few million dollars less when my Twitter poll resulted in my own stocks being sold for over a billion dollars less is everything. utter nonsense,” Musk said.
In an apparent reference to the blood feud he blamed on the SEC, he added that the investigation was “just more evidence of Stevie grinding his tiny little ax yet again.”
A letter from the SEC to the court dated February 18 denying any harassment was signed by Steven Buchholz, regional director of enforcement for the SEC. The SEC declined to comment.
Kimbal Musk sold 88,500 Tesla shares, worth around $108 million, the day before the Twitter poll was announced. He could not immediately be reached for comment.
Additional reporting by Stefania Palma