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Tesla receives subpoena from SEC over 2018 settlement


(Reuters) — Tesla Inc. said Monday it received a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in November related to a settlement that required top boss Elon Musk's tweets on material information to be vetted.

The disclosure in an annual filing with the SEC comes after Musk triggered a stock sell-off after asking his Twitter followers in November if he should sell 10% of his stake in the company.

As of last close, the electric-car maker's shares fell by nearly a quarter since the tweet.

The SEC's latest action adds to the company's pressure from federal auto safety regulators regarding vehicle recalls and investigations related to its driver assisting software.

Tesla in December was hit by a lawsuit over Mr. Musk's social media posts, including his Twitter poll on stock sales that pulled down its stock price. This was not the first lawsuit accusing Mr. Musk of violating his 2018 settlement.

In 2018, Musk settled a lawsuit by the SEC over his tweet on taking the company private, agreeing to have the company's lawyers pre-approve tweets with material information about the company.

As part of the same settlement, Mr. Musk also stepped down as chairman of the board, and Tesla appointed two new independent director.

Tesla and the White House have been at odds over the past few months, with the Biden administration focusing on legacy automakers including Ford Motor Co. and General Motors in the electric vehicle race.

Last month, GM and Ford's CEOs attended a meeting of tech and auto companies hosted by President Joe Biden. Mr. Musk was not part of the list of attendees.

Mr. Musk has been using his Twitter account to attack the Biden administration for ignoring Tesla and holding up Detroit automakers as leaders in the shift to electric vehicles. Mr. Musk called Biden a “damp sock puppet” in a tweet last month.

Mr. Musk is also feuding with the United Auto Workers union, a key ally of Mr. Biden. The National Labor Relations Board in March ordered Mr. Musk to delete a tweet that said Tesla workers could lose stock options if they voted to join the UAW. Tesla is appealing that order.