Curated for the Inquisitive Mind


US Lawmakers Ask SEC to Launch Fraud Investigation Into Elon Musk

On September 10, 2023, Mr. Musk responded to animal welfare concerns at Neuralink via a post on the social media platform X, which he also owns. He wrote:

“No monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant. First our early implants, to minimize risk to healthy monkeys, we chose terminal mon[k]eys (close to death already)[.]”

Yet Mr. Musk knows this statement is false. Monkey health records show that, while several animals had suffered physical trauma and been used previously in experiments at UC Davis, there is no evidence that they were “close to death,” as Mr. Musk stated. Rhesus macaques often live to about 25 years in captivity, with some living to 40. But the average age of the 12 monkeys euthanized by Neuralink was 7.25 years when they were moved to the company’s experimental protocol.

The animals’ deaths and the reasons for their deaths relate directly to the safety and marketability of Neuralink’s brain-computer interface. It is critical that the company provide investors with factually accurate information, and thus we are concerned that Mr. Musk may have violated SEC Rule § 240.10b-5:

It shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, by the use of any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce, or of the mails or of any facility of any national securities exchange…[t]o make any untrue statement of a material fact or to omit to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading…in connection with the purchase or sale of any security.

In its 2018 complaint against Mr. Musk for posting misleading messages on the platform then known as Twitter, the SEC referenced his 22 million followers, emphasizing the reach of his social media account: “His tweets were published instantaneously to those people and were also publicly available to anyone with Internet access.”

Mr. Musk’s online reach has grown significantly since 2018. Today, he has 162.9 million followers on X, the most of any account on the platform, and his September 10 post has already received more than 788,000 views.

The company claims to have raised $280,274,981 in investments, with a minimum investment accepted from any outside investor of $14,995, according to its August 2023 Form D notice. Given the scale of these investments and Mr. Musk’s history of misleading investors, it is crucial that the SEC investigate whether Mr. Musk’s September 10, 2023 post violated SEC Rule § 240.10b-5.

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