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Musk to Robinhood CEO: 'Anyone Holding You Hostage?'

Tesla CEO grills Vladimir Tenev on how and why GameStop trading was halted last week
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2021 6:31 AM CST

(Newser) – With trading app Robinhood now in the spotlight after it temporarily halted trading last week amid the GameStop hubbub, Elon Musk decided to get some answers straight from the source. Late Sunday, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO, who'd already started instigating on the topic last week, spoke to Robinhood CEO Vladimir Tenev via a Clubhouse livestream, and he wasn't letting the man he introduced as "Vlad the Stock Impaler" get off easy, per the Washington Post. "Spill the beans, man," Musk demanded of Tenev. "What happened last week? Why couldn't people buy the GameStop shares? The people demand answers and they want to know the truth." Specifically at the top of Musk's mind was the possibility that regulators were pulling the strings to favor hedge funds over small investors, or that Citadel Securities, which handles orders for Robinhood, pressured the company to stop trading.

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"Is anyone holding you hostage right now?" Musk pressed Tenev. The latter explained that the halting happened after the National Securities Clearing Corporation, Robinhood's clearing agency, had suddenly asked for $3 billion in collateral to help deal with the significant rise in transactions. Tenev added that after that figure was lowered and Robinhood raised some additional capital, "everything is fine," though Forbes notes that there are still limits on GameStop and other "meme stocks." Tenev said those limits would ease up starting Monday. He also pushed back on Musk's line of questioning, noting, "You're getting into conspiracy theories a little bit." Meanwhile, after a 1,625% spike in January, GameStop shares saw the "frenzy" carry over into February with a 6.5% rise in premarket trading on Monday, per CNBC, which notes the "Reddit-fueled short squeeze" has caused a mark-to-market loss for hedge funds of nearly $20 billion. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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