Entrepreneur and business tycoon Elon Musk gestures during a visit to the Tesla Gigafactory under construction on August 13, 2021 in Grunheide near Berlin, East Germany.

Patrick Pleul | AFP | Getty Images

The Securities and Exchange Commission has another reason after Ilona Mask.

The world’s richest man on Monday said he bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter, bringing social media company stock up more than 28% in the afternoon.

The statement means Musk is accumulating common stock until March 14. According to financial information, the share is passive.

The SEC requires that anyone who acquires more than 5% of the company’s common stock disclose their stake within 10 calendar days. Musk signed his statement 21 days after March 14.

On March 25, the day after the 10-day period ended, Musk posted a poll on Twitter with the following preamble: “Freedom of speech is important for a functioning democracy. Do you believe that Twitter strictly adheres to this principle? ”

He added to his own poll, saying: “The implications of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.”

At the moment, Musk has already acquired his large share in Twitter – and legally had to reveal it.

SEC fines for disclosure are historically modest – often about $ 100,000. Mask’s net worth, according to Forbes, is about $ 300 billion. A fine of $ 100,000 is 0.00003% of his wealth. The average net worth of a family in the U.S. is about $ 122,000. The equivalent fine for the average American household will be about 3 cents.

Mask’s intentions with his large share are unclear. In late January, conservative expert Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted of fraud with campaign finance in 2014, tweeted Mask, telling him he could “drastically change the political and cultural landscape” by buying and taking over a major social network ». platform ».

Musk replied, “Interesting ideas.”

Musk v. SEC

The The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has a history of courtship and promotion of their companies on the Twitter platform, while rejecting some SEC rules.

In September 2018, the SEC accused Mask of “false and deceptive” statements to investors when he announced via Twitter in August of that year that he was considering allocating Tesla privately for $ 420 per share and securing financing. After that, the shares of electric car manufacturers swung for several weeks – and the deal, which hinted at Musk, never materialized.

Musk and Tesla eventually agreed to an agreement with the government and revised it in 2019. Under its terms, Musk and Tesla had to pay SEC fines of $ 20 million, and Musk had to temporarily relinquish his role as chairman of the company’s board. .

In June 2020, the SEC said Musk violated certain terms of the agreement, which requires the CEO to pre-approve tweets if they contain significant business information about Tesla that could affect the stock price. Musk wrote on Twitter that Tesla’s stock price was too high, which led to a drop in shares.

Earlier this year, the SEC sued Mask and Tesla in court after he unofficially polled his tens of millions of followers on Twitter, asking if he should sell 10% of his shares in Tesla. Most of his followers voted in favor.

Tesla CEO clashes with regulators are usually public and chaotic, sometimes including vulgar ridicule. He has repeatedly expressed his dissatisfaction with the SEC on Twitter, including in October 2018 when he called the agency a “Commission for the Enrichment of Short Selling” as well July 2020 when he wrote, “SEC, an abbreviation of three letters, the middle word belongs to Elon.”

Musk has said nothing publicly about his intentions regarding managing or owning Twitter since the financial documents were published. His only statement since the bid was revealed – on Twitter – was “Oh, hello, lol”.

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

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