Elon Musk isn’t being held accountable for his “mistruths,” and the Tesla CEO should list his company’s shares in Germany, where regulations are loose, short-seller and Musk critic Carson Block contended Friday.
“There is a global war against truth,” the CIO of Muddy Waters told CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “There are millions of people, presumably, that think we should apply a double standard to Elon Musk because he is at least claiming to save the planet.”
Tesla did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Block’s remarks.
Block published Friday an op-ed in Forbes called, “Why Elon Musk Should List Tesla Shares In Germany.” He argued, in part, that relisting Tesla’s shares in Germany could be favorable to Musk because “he can have regulatory carte blanche, and can tweet anything he wants with no retribution — no matter how fraudulent.”
Shares of Tesla closed down $7.84 per share on Friday to $294.79, a day after Musk said Tesla won’t turn a profit during the first quarter as it works to deliver its midsize Model 3 sedan at a more affordable price tag of $35,000.
The company also said it will shutter some stores and cut jobs to reduce costs. The changes are part of a push to slash costs as much as possible to ensure the lowest-priced version of the car makes money.
Earlier in the week, Musk lashed out against the Securities and Exchange Commission on Twitter after the agency asked a judge to hold Musk in contempt for violating a settlement deal. The SEC had settled charges with Musk and Tesla over the CEO’s aborted bid via Twitter to take the company private last August. The agreement included getting preapproval for tweets.
Block, who owns a small put position on Tesla, said the SEC has held Musk “partially” accountable. Short selling is a practice in which traders can bet against a company by selling shares they don’t own and buying them back at a lower price.
“At the end of the day, just don’t think that the company is ever going to achieve the kind of scale necessary to be able to compete with the competition that is coming on line in electric vehicles,” Block said.
— CNBC’s Robert Ferris contributed to this report.