Major Tesla Investor Thinks Elon Musk Should’ve Taken Tesla Private

One of Tesla's earliest investors bemoaned the backlash Elon Musk faced for the tweets that earned him a $20-million fine.

Venture capital investor Tim Draper said at the Web Summit in Lisbon that he wished Tesla CEO Elon Musk had followed through with his plan to privatize the electric automaker.

Draper was a major early investor in both Tesla and SpaceX, and according to his statements in a recent interview, remains a firm believer in Musk as a businessman and leader despite his recent Securities and Exchange Commission fiasco.

“Every human in the world has made a mistake and there are so many laws that you have to follow if you’re a public company,” Draper told CNBC in regard to Musk’s spat with the SEC. “He probably should have just taken the whole thing private.”

Musk proclaimed via Twitter in August that he was thinking of rounding up Tesla stock into private hands, and stated that funding for a mass-buyback of stock at $420 per share was secure. The Securities and Exchange Commission investigated the matter as an attempt to influence the share price of $TSLA and slapped both Musk and the company with $20 million fines each. Additionally, Musk will have to step down as chairman of the board by the end of November.

Draper was outspoken in his calls to forgive and forget Musk’s statements that landed him in hot water with the government.

“We have to sort of say, hey look, he’s a human being, he’s doing the best he can,” Draper continued. “This guy’s awesome, let’s do what we can to support him.”

Draper has, in the past, defended executives’ controversial and criminal actions, such as those of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, who is in the midst of a court case with the SEC over multiple charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit. He is also known for his attempt to carve California into six smaller states, with The Sacramento Bee reporting that Draper spent over $5 million in 2014 as part of his campaign to do so.