Tech billionaire Elon Musk has agreed to step down as the chairman of Tesla. Musk has been also asked to pay a $20 million fine in a deal to settle charges that were brought on him by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this week. The settlement, which requires court approval, has determined that Musk will continue to stay at the CEO of the electric car company but must leave the role as chairman of the board within 45 days. He won't be able to seek re-election for three years either, as per the court filings.
The court documents submitted also pointed out the Musk has accepted the deal "without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint." Meanwhile, Tesla will pay an additional $20 million after it failed to adequately police Musk's tweet. A press release by the SEC read, "The $40 million in penalties will be distributed to harmed investors under a court-approved process." Tesla will now appoint two new independent directors to its board to establish a board committee to oversee Musk's communications. The billionaire will remain a part of the board.
The announcement comes two days after the SEC files a lawsuit against Elon Musk, claiming he misled investors with his tweets. On August 7, 2018, the Tesla boss had tweeter saying he had secured funding to take the company private at $420 per share. The announcement caused the company's stock to soar, but was based on a false claim. The SEC stated that no funding was secured in its lawsuit.
The petition further sought a ban on Musk from serving as a director of any publicly traded company. Responding to the SEC lawsuit, Elon Musk called it unjustified and said, "I have always taken action in the best interests of truth, transparency and investors. Integrity is the most important value in my life and the facts will show I never compromised this in any way."
It's not clear yet if the Department of Justice will file criminal charges against the Tesla co-founder. It is also yet to be determined if Musk's action constitute to criminal charges.