Tesla CEO Elon Musk is facing scrutiny by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding his specific comments and efforts to promote the automaker’s claims regarding its “self-driving” capabilities, Bloomberg reports. The SEC investigation into Musk is part of its overall efforts to determine whether Tesla has run afoul of its rules in promoting its FSD and Autopilot offering.
The SEC doesn’t typically comment on any ongoing investigations prior to formally filing suit, and has not commented on this case in particular. But recent revelations may explain why Musk is in their crosshairs when it comes to Tesla “self-driving” technology: Last week, testimony given by a senior engineer on the Tesla team working on its Autopilot software revealed that a video the company released in 2016 purporting to show a Tesla vehicle driving itself was in fact staged. Reporting by Bloomberg later revealed that the video was overseen and directed by Musk himself.
Of course, the SEC’s domain isn’t safety claims, but it does take issue with public companies or company executive officers making forward-looking claims that are false or misleading. That’s apparently what they’re concerned about here — Musk has often suggested FSD would attain essentially driver-free navigation capabilities in timelines that have not ended up proving accurate.
Based on what the SEC determines following its investigation, we could see lawsuits or other consequences for Musk, including limitations on his future activity as an officer of a public company if they choose to pursue enforcement of any violations they find.