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Grappling with tweet aftermath, Musk acknowledges exhaustion

17 Августа 2018

Stuart Meissner, an attorney for former Tesla security staffer Karl Hansen, reportedly filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Tesla, alleging the embattled electric vehicle company "failed to disclose theft of materials from a factory", and did not acknowledge an "unauthorized wiretapping and hacking of Tesla employee cellphones and computers", according to New York Times business correspondent Matthew Goldstein. "They can have the reins right now", he told the paper.

The newspaper reported that during an hour-long telephone interview on Thursday, Musk alternated between laughter and tears, acknowledging that he was working up to 120 hours a week and sometimes takes "Ambien" to get to sleep.

Musk told the Times on Thursday that he has been under huge pressure from his workload.

Alongside that, Musk has been battling journalists and the public at large with Twitter outbursts and thoughts on taking Tesla private as it struggles to manufacture enough Model 3 cars to meet demand.

Of the physical toll his job is taking, he said: "It's not been great, actually".

And even then, Musk says he can't do that without the help of medication.

Musk has a reputation for being an eccentric visionary.

As for the infamous going private Tweet, Musk said he typed the message while on route to the airport as an attempt to be transparent.

Musk said while he's committed to being Tesla's chairman and CEO, he asked the interviewers if they have anyone that could do a better job to "please let me know".

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While Musk has described himself as "half Democrat, half Republican" in the past, critics said it was hypocritical of a green energy CEO to donate almost $40,000 to the GOP. They have fallen back, including a 6% decline in premarket trading on Friday to $323.50.

"The security personnel accused of engaging in these tactics at Uber were hired by Tesla this year despite the revelation of a purported investigation by the US Attorney's Office in San Francisco ..."

That signals regulators are investigating if Musk was truthful in the tweet about having the financing set for a deal that analysts have estimated would require $25 billion to $50 billion.

Taken unawares, the firm's board said this week that it has formed a special committee to consider going private. "I left the July 31st meeting with no question that a deal with the Saudi sovereign fund could be closed, and that it was just a matter of getting the process moving", wrote Musk.

Tesla did not immediately respond to CNBC's emailed requests for comments.

Some of Musk's stress comes from critical stock short-sellers who are betting against the company's success. Tesla has never made money for a full year and has had only two profitable quarters since it went public in 2010.

"This past year has been the most hard and painful year of my career", he said.

Efforts are also under way to recruit an executive to take some pressure off Musk, the newspaper said, citing people briefed on the search.

In a separate report, The Wall Street Journal said securities regulators have been investigating if Tesla misled investors about Model 3 production problems.

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Grappling with tweet aftermath, Musk acknowledges exhaustion