Embattled Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) chief executive Elon Musk slammed the US Securities and Exchange Commission just when a US district court judge ordered him and the SEC to explain by next week why the deal they forged to settle the lawsuit the government had filed against Musk is "fair and reasonable".
In a tweet referring to the SEC as "Shortseller Enrichment Commission", Musk wrote sarcastically that the regulator was "doing incredible work". "And the name change is so on point!" he said, missing at least a word in the phrase.
When someone helpfully suggested a social media team could help him avoid typos and enraging the "Shortseller Enrichment Committee" [sic], Musk apologized for the typos - but not for slamming the SEC.
Musk has often previously vilified short sellers, who bet that the price of a stock will go down, blaming them for spreading bad press and negative analysis on Tesla's prospects.
Shares of Tesla extended earlier losses after Nathan issued her order, and were down $12.78, or 4.3 percent, at $282.02 in late afternoon trading.
Another Tesla bull, Gerber Kawasaki CEO Ross Gerber, was more blunt in expressing his disapproval of Musk's post.
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But Musk had not secured the funding, the SEC said. Nathan must approve the settlement's terms.
Separately, a roofing tile product that could collect energy from the sun was justification for buying SolarCity, a company run by Musk and some family members.
Both Tesla and the SEC did not respond to requests for comment by FOX Business.
Musk, 47, agreed to step down as chairman within 45 days and be replaced with an independent director. Musk eventually backtracked on that statement, saying the electric-car company will remain public for the time being.
"I think it's the judge being careful", he said.
Even though Musk's Twitter post appears to violate the spirit of the recent settlement, the SEC is largely powerless to stop Musk's tirades until the settlement is approved by Federal Judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District of NY, which could take several weeks.
SEC charged the executive with securities fraud which led to the settlement in which Musk must pay $20 million and Tesla must also cough up a further $20 million. It is also unclear whether this money will be used to cover Musk's $20 million SEC fine.