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Tesla says Justice Department requested documents on CEO Musk's take-private tweet

Tesla shares sank by as much as 7.1 percent Tuesday after Bloomberg News said the company is facing a criminal probe over CEO Elon Musk's tweets about taking the company private.

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Musk tweeted on Aug. 7 that he had secured funding at $420 a share to take the electric car maker private, sending the stock soaring 11 percent, near an all-time high that day to $387.46. All of those gains — and then some — have since been erased.

Early Tuesday afternoon, the stock was down 4.7 percent, above $280 a share.

Tesla's value has fallen by almost a third, wiping away nearly $18 billion in market capitalization since his initial tweets.

Bloomberg said the Justice Department is running the criminal investigation in tandem with a civil securities fraud probe of Musk's comments. It cited two people familiar with the matter.

Musk said in an Aug. 13 blog post that the Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund was interested in financing Tesla, only to later shelve any plans to take the company private. The fund has decided to instead invest $1 billion in rival Lucid Motors, Reuters reported Monday.

Requests for comment to the Department of Justice and Tesla weren't immediately returned.

Securities lawyers have previously said his off-the-cuff comments will likely draw fines from the SEC for the company and exposed Musk to possible criminal charges.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.


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