Musk to step down as Tesla chair, pay $20m in fines

Tesla founder Elon Musk, above, will step down as its chairman and pay a hefty fine for a “false and misleading” tweet to regulators and investors in August about a buyout of the electric-car company.

The move comes two days after US watchdog Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Musk and sought his ouster.

SEC, however, allowed Musk to continue as Tesla’s CEO.

As part of the settlement, which has to be cleared by court, Musk and Tesla will pay $20 million in fines each and Musk will relinquish his role as chairman of its board for three years.

The board will have to appoint two new independent directors and also hire a lawyer to oversee its founder’s communication, including tweets, to investors. Musk was sending threatening messages to short-sellers and investors betting on the company’s stock to fall.

The money raised through fines will be distributed to harmed investors after approval from court.