Now Tesla is under additional, and perhaps more intense scrutiny, this time coming not from the SEC, but the Department of Justice, according to a report from Bloomberg published on September 18th. For Elon Musk, Tesla's quirky billionaire CEO, one tweet could cost billions of dollars.
Musk has since backed off talk of going private, saying the company will continue to be publicly traded.
As of writing, Tesla stock is trading down 5.88% at $277.98 per share.More news: Fort Trump? Polish leader dangles offer to U.S. president
The DoJ declined to comment.
He also claimed that Musk falsely called him a child rapist and sex trafficker in an August 30 email to BuzzFeed News.
The court papers say Mr Musk then "embarked on a PR campaign to destroy Mr Unsworth's reputation by publishing false and heinous accusations of criminality against him to the public".
It's unclear whether the criminal investigation is that broad. Abraham Simmons, a spokesman for the US attorney's office also declined to comment at this time.More news: Jessica Simpson Pregnant with Third Child -- See Ace and Maxwell's Reveal!
The Justice Department generally does not confirm or deny investigations, spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman in Washington said.
Tesla has had to deal with significant turnover in its executive ranks, including this month's controversial departure of its chief accounting officer.
Musk tweeted: "Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it".
"We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process", a Tesla spokesman said in an emailed response to Reuters questions about an investigation.
Stephen Crimmins, a former deputy chief of litigation for the SEC, said prosecutors probably are looking at Musk's tweets to be cautious.More news: Apple's new iPhones a slight notch above the X: reviewers
After facing major backlash Musk apologized to the diver, but said his words were "spoken in anger after Mr. Unsworth said several untruths & suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub".
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