By on April 30, 2021

We began April talking about Volkswagen’s April Fool’s Day prank that went awry, and we end the month back on the same topic. Circle of life!

We’re back on that topic because the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating what happened.

We reported, way back at the beginning of the month, that the SEC might investigate. And now, we know that it will.

The New York Times says Volkswagen did not deny reports from Der Spiegel and other German media outlets that it is under investigation by the SEC.

That’s because regulators tend to frown upon companies misleading stockholders, even if the company does so as part of an elaborate joke. As a reminder, Volkswagen initially told the press that the name change to Voltswagen was no prank and would really happen.

Apparently, German regulators aren’t going to bother with an investigation, despite similar rules in that country regarding honesty.

The paper of record also suggests that even if the SEC finds a violation, the penalty is unlikely to be severe, in part because shares continued to rise even after VW admitted it was all a prank done in the name of “fun”.

We don’t like to say we told you so…but we kinda told you so.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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22 Comments on “SEC Actually Will Investigate Volkswagen Over April Fools’ Prank...”

  • avatar

    Volkswagen schadenfreude is the best.

  • avatar

    Suspend trading! Suspend trading!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Time to raid their offices again.

  • avatar

    “Apparently, German regulators aren’t going to bother with an investigation, despite similar rules in that country regarding honesty.”

    So the German regulators have a sense of humor. Ours want to cancel Volkswagen. Got it. SMDH.

    What have we become?

    • 0 avatar

      Truly a sad day when our sense of humor is eclipsed by Germans.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      I hardly think an investigation of whether VW broke long-established rules around stock-market manipulation is “cancellation”. Even should the SEC level a fine.

      Last I checked, being investigated for breaking rules — and facing punishment if being found guilty of breaking the rules — is not “cancellation.”

      Not to mention that Tesla got in hot water for a similar thing and still carries on just fine today…

    • 0 avatar

      a bunch of [email protected]#$% that are triggered by the slightest thing.

      There are probably real issues that the SEC should investigate, where companies are screwing investors and the American public, but they are going to waste their time on this nonsense?

  • avatar

    Misleading shareholders? Personally if you are that gullible, then maybe you shouldn’t be investing in stocks. Then again Dogecoin is a thing.

    • 0 avatar

      “if you are that gullible…”
      Exactly. Lack of research skills. The same statement should apply to journalists.

      One of the clues that it was a hoax, other than the last week of March being the time these stunts are traditionally performed, was the lack of copyright filings with the USPTO. IP filings are an important tool in fact-checking claims.

  • avatar

    In about a year, look for the SEC to issue a press release touting a settlement in which VW pays a six-figure fine and admits no wrongdoing.

    This is not serious, the SEC knows it’s not serious, VW knows it’s not serious, all the lawyers know it’s not serious, and VW will be happy to pay a bit of petty cash to give the SEC a political win.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m rooting for the SEC to go nuts on them so no corporation does an April Fool’s stunt ever again.

    • 0 avatar

      “This is not serious, the SEC knows it’s not serious, VW knows it’s not serious…”

      Disagree. It is Extremely Serious – Tim Healey said so (possibly multiple times?). I believe we will all be watching Tim Healey’s testimony before Congress soon enough and THEN we will understand just how right he was all along – about everything.

  • avatar

    All they had to do was wait until April 1. VW’s pranks are as convoluted as their new car interiors.

  • avatar

    The SEC is going to have to play a larger role in reining in the craziness. Rising and falling stocks have less to do with market fundamentals and more to do with who is trending on Twitter and Reddit. Musk has this figured out. Of course Voltswagen and the rest want to get in on the action. And of course it is (or becomes) stock manipulation. To the moon!!! The SEC is going to have to step up for the sake of the integrity of financial markets (if there ever was any). Not just in the auto sector.

    • 0 avatar

      The SEC without a doubt will work for banksters and juiced in associates of the administration, nothing they do will benefit retail investors until 2024 at the earliest.

      • 0 avatar

        The banksters overwhelmingly prefer the party that promises to lower their taxes rather than raise them. Neither Biden nor his regulators have much incentive to make them happy.

        • 0 avatar

          I had a small position in Corporate Universe (COUV), they halted it because:

          “The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of COUV because of questions regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace since at
          least December 1, 2020. Those questions relate to publicly available information concerning COUV including: (a) a statement made by COUV on December 1, 2020 that
          it is currently selling a mask proven to filter 98% of COVID-19 particles and is scientifically proven to kill COVID-19 particles; and (b) a statement made by COUV on December 16, 2020 that it has entered into a definitive letter of intent to acquire a
          company that holds 30 patents related to carbon ion battery technology.”

          But then later resumed trading with no penalty and not even a “our bad” because there was ***zero*** reason to ***halt trading*** in the first place. Plunged about 90% at one point… who went short or bought puts, besides the SEC of course?

          Meanwhile it was OK that all of the brokers suspended or limited trading to 1 share during the GME fiasco, to not investigate the obvious collusion between Robinhood and Citadel, oh and not to mention allowing GME to be short 140% in the first place.

          “Approximately 140 percent of GameStop’s public float had been sold short, and the rush to buy shares to cover those positions as the price rose caused it to rise even farther.”

          Capone and Shkreli are two side of the same coin, organized crime owns D.C. and by extension runs the SEC.

  • avatar

    Seeing as Jo Jo has accomplished everything on the agenda (steal an election, outrageously raise taxes, create a vaccine as a candidate, fall up a flight of stairs and then blame a slight breeze, etc), I can see how his SEC has time for this.

  • avatar

    It makes me wonder if the Securities and Exchange Commission has anything better to do.

  • avatar

    I see having a sense of humor is no longer in style these days.

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