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Elon Musk’s Tesla tweets violated SEC settlement: report

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Elon Musk’s Tesla tweets violated SEC settlement: report

US regulators alerted electric car-maker Tesla last year that its CEO Elon Musk’s use of Twitter had twice violated a court-ordered policy that required company lawyers to pre-approve some of his tweets.

In correspondence sent to Tesla in 2019 and 2020 and obtained by the Wall Street Journal, the Securities and Exchange Commission said that Musk’s tweets about Tesla’s solar roof production and its stock price had violated the required policy. 

Tesla and the SEC settled a case in 2018 that alleged Musk had committed fraud by tweeting that he had “funding secured” to take the company private at $420 a share. The SEC fined him and Tesla $20 million each, forced him to step down as Tesla’s chairman, and Tesla agreed to have Musk’s public statements on social media overseen by lawyers.

The SEC has since monitored Musk’s use of Twitter, even alerting the company that they’ve violated the agreement and asking a Manhattan federal court to consider holding Musk in contempt, according to the documents obtained by the Journal via a Freedom of Information Act request. 

Two of Musk’s tweets, in particular, caught the attention of SEC officials, according to the Journal. One was posted in July 2019, when Musk tweeted, “Spooling up production line rapidly. Hoping to manufacture ~1000 solar roofs/week by end of this year.”

The SEC wrote in a letter to Tesla that the tweet needed to be vetted by lawyers because it addressed “production numbers or sales or delivery numbers,” the Journal reported. Tesla responded that the tweet had not been pre-approved, but that a committee later determined it didn’t need to be authorized because it was “wholly aspirational,” the report said.

The second violating tweet came less than a year later, when Tesla’s shares tumbled after Musk tweeted, “Tesla’s stock price is too high imo.”

That tweet infamously wiped about $13 billion off of Tesla’s market capitalization.

When the SEC wrote to Tesla with regards to that tweet, the company responded that the tweet didn’t need to be pre-approved because it was just “personal opinion,” according to the Journal. 

“In the face of Mr. Musk’s repeated refusals to submit his covered written communications on Twitter to Tesla for pre-approval, we are very concerned by Tesla’s repeated determinations that there have been no policy violations because of purported carve-outs,” the SEC reportedly wrote in a letter to the company.

In a letter separately obtained by the Journal, Tesla’s lawyers accused the SEC of trying to “harass Tesla and silence Mr. Musk” with investigations that “overlapped endlessly.”

“The serial nature of these investigations leaves us gravely concerned that the SEC is targeting Mr. Musk for an improper purpose,” attorney Alex Spiro reportedly wrote.

Representatives for the SEC did not return The Post’s request for comment.

The episode underscores the combative nature of Musk and his companies when it comes to regulatory agencies. 

After the 2018 settlement with the SEC, Musk struck a defiant stance toward the agency in a December 2018 “60 Minutes” interview, saying, “I do not respect the SEC.” He also tweeted a suggestive jab at the commission last year: “SEC, three letter acronym, middle word is Elon’s.”

Musk’s ongoing tweets about cryptocurrencies and various companies have continued to drive market movements, spurring rumors of another potential SEC investigation. 

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EEOC files lawsuit over worker fired for refusing to be fingerprinted

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EEOC files lawsuit over worker fired for refusing to be fingerprinted

A Minnesota man refused to leave fingerprints — and got fired for it.

As a result, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a Minnesota firm on behalf of Henry Harrington, of Mound, who was sacked for refusing the company’s requirement to be fingerprinted on religious grounds, the Star Tribune reported Friday.

The EEOC suit against AscensionPoint Recovery Services, a debt recovery company, was filed this week.

AscensionPoint had requested that workers be fingerprinted as a result of a background check requirement of one of its clients, according to the EEOC.

Harrington, 37, however, told AscensionPoint in July 2017 that having his fingerprints captured was contrary to his Christian beliefs. He was fired the same day.

The suit seeks back pay for Harrington from the time he was fired, and other financial compensation for “emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life and humiliation.”

“An employee should not have to choose between his faith and his livelihood,” Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC’s regional attorney in the Chicago District Office, said in a statement.

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Goldman Sachs reportedly plans to move more than 100 bankers to Florida

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Goldman Sachs reportedly plans to move more than 100 bankers to Florida

Working from home is no longer an option at Goldman Sachs — but working from Florida might be another story.

More than 100 key Goldman Sachs employees are reportedly poised to migrate from the firm’s New York headquarters to a new office in Palm Beach, Florida.

The snub to the Big Apple — which comes as Goldman bankers reported back to the office on Monday after more than a year of working remotely — would mark a shift in Goldman’s more than 150-year-old, New York-centric strategy at the hands of Chief Executive David Solomon.

The Florida expansion is in the early stages and a few employees have made firm commitments, according to a report from Business Insider (paywall). Among those who have expressed interest in moving are partners in the firm, whose salaries start at $950,000 not including bonuses and other perks.

“High-performing managing directors or vice presidents are also being encouraged to relocate, to signal that the office won’t be considered a backwater that kneecaps their Wall Street career,” the report said, citing an unnamed source.

Staffers who move to Florida will not be expected to take a pay cut, according to the report.

Goldman executives at the global markets division, which includes the the core sales and trading operations, will select which members of the team to send, with the idea that “each cluster would be an offshoot of a larger team based in New York and made up of as many as eight or 10 people,” the report said.

Marc Nachmann, co-head of the trading division, commutes regularly from Boca Raton, which could be part of the reason behind the migration. The other head of trading, Ashok Varadhan, is based in New York.

Florida’s sunshine and low taxes made it a haven as coronavirus has shut down New York City. But it’s unclear whether CEO Solomon — who called working from home during the pandemic an “aberration” that was not a “new normal” — will be pleased with large swaths of employees moving to Florida permanently.

As reported by The Post, Goldman’s Asset Management division had been planning to expand its presence in Florida but a lack of interest has stalled those plans. When employees were polled on the cost-saving idea — with managers informally sounding out the rank-and-file, and the company even sending out an email survey — the bank was met with a notable scarcity of snowbirds, sources told The Post.

Goldman has previously dismissed the idea that the firm is planning major relocations.

“As announced at our investor day in January 2020, we are executing on the strategy of locating more jobs in high value locations throughout the US, but we have no specific plans to announce at this time,” Goldman said in a statement.

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El Salvador volcanoes to power bitcoin mining

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El Salvador volcanoes to power bitcoin mining

Bitcoin is red-hot in El Salvador — and the country says it plans to use power from its volcanoes to mine it.

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele — just hours after the country’s legislature approved the “Bitcoin Law,” making it the first to accept Bitcoin as legal tender — revealed Wednesday that the nation’s state-owned geothermal electric company will harness volcanic energy to mine the cryptocurrency.

Bukele said the country is already designing a mining hub that will use “very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable” energy from volcanoes to power the operation, which effectively would be a bank of super-powered computers that solve the complex mathematical equations required to mine Bitcoin.

“Our engineers just informed me that they dug a new well,” Bukele tweeted, saying it would generate 95 megawatts of energy — enough to power more than 500 homes for a year. “What you see coming out of the well is pure water vapor.”

Bukele — who is looking to lower transaction fees on the $6 billion in yearly remittances sent to its citizens from abroad — has yet, however, to reveal when the new operation will be live or how many Bitcoins he expects to be able to mine.

It’s been a bullish week for Bitcoin in El Salvador. The digital coin can now be used as payment for goods, services, and taxes in the public and private sector. Bitcoin rose 6 percent on the news, according to data from Coindesk.

According to a study by Cambridge University, Bitcoin mining consumes more energy per year than the Philippines. Elon Musk has met with Bitcoin miners about environmental concerns, recently citing them as he announced Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment.

Details about the mining efforts and how El Salvador will widely adopt Bitcoin remain vague. The law states it will provide “the necessary training and mechanisms” to allow the 70 percent of its citizens that don’t have access to traditional banking services to understand how they can use Bitcoin but didn’t elaborate.

Still, Bukele remains an enthusiastic advocate for the currency and his mining project. Late Thursday he tweeted drone footage of the new mine with a rainbow in the background.

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