Tesla Stock Plummets After Report of Criminal Probe Into Musk’s Buyout Statements

Elon Musk speaking at the headquarters of SpaceX, his rocket company
Elon Musk speaks at a press conference at SpaceX headquarters Mario Tama/Getty Images

Tesla shares fell more than 6 percent following a Bloomberg report that the Justice Department is investigating Elon Musk’s claims that he had “funding secured” for a buyout of the electric car company.

The criminal investigation into the statements “is running alongside a previously reported civil inquiry by securities regulators,” Bloomberg News reported Tuesday.

Musk tweeted that he was “considering taking Tesla private at $420” and that he had “funding secured” in August. He later said that he had a vague commitment from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund to help finance a massive takeover of the company. Later in August, Musk abandoned the plans to take his company private.


Update, Sept. 18, 2:31 p.m.: Tesla has issued a statement in its attempt at damage control:

“Last month, following Elon’s announcement that he was considering taking the company private, Tesla received a voluntary request for documents from the DOJ and has been cooperative in responding to it. We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process. We respect the DOJ’s desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received.”