New Delhi (CNN Business)1. Volkswagen sued: The Securities and Exchange Commission is charging the German carmaker with defrauding investors over its infamous diesel emissions scandal.
In a statement late Thursday, the SEC accused Volkswagen (VLKAF), two of its subsidiaries and former CEO Martin Winterkorn of “raising billions of dollars” through the markets through “a series of deceptive claims” about the company’s clean diesel vehicles. “Volkswagen made false and misleading statements to investors and underwriters about vehicle quality, environmental compliance, and VW’s financial standing,” the SEC added. A Volkswagen spokesman said Friday that the SEC’s complaint was “legally and factually flawed, and Volkswagen will contest it vigorously.”Volkswagen’s current CEO, Herbert Diess, is also under fire after he appeared to reference a notorious Nazi slogan while talking about one measure of the company’s profits — earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) — on Tuesday. Read MoreDiess used the expression “Ebit macht frei.” The phrase sounds similar to “Arbeit macht frei,” a slogan inscribed on the gates of Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Diess has apologized unreservedly.Volkswagen shares slipped lower in Frankfurt trading.2. Facebook execs out: Two of Facebook’s (FB) top executives are leaving the company, soon after CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a plan to reposition it as a “privacy-focused” social network with closer integration between its apps. Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, and Chris Daniels, head of its mobile messaging platform WhatsApp, will both step away from the company, it announced Thursday. Cox, who joined Facebook in 2005 and was recently put in charge of its “family of apps” including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, will exit following a brief transition period. Facebook shares were down nearly 2% in premarket trading. 3. Tesla’s big reveal: CEO Elon Musk unveiled the electric carmaker’s latest vehicle, the Model Y SUV, in California on Thursday. The most affordable version of the Model Y will cost $39,000, with pricier versions ranging from $47,000 to $60,000 that will ship starting 2020. But Tesla (TSLA) didn’t reveal where it will make the vehicle and how it plans to scale production to meet demand. The Model Y launch comes in the middle of a tumultuous phase for Tesla. The SEC wants Musk to be charged with contempt for tweeting “inaccurate and material” information about the company, while key executives have left the company and it faces government scrutiny over driver deaths linked to its autopilot feature. Tesla shares dropped more than 2% in premarket trading. 4. Brexit delayed: UK lawmakers on Thursday voted to delay the country’s departure from the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May is now set to ask EU leaders next week for an extension to the March 29 deadline. The move could be good for Britain’s currency, the pound, according to analysts. “The rejection of a no-deal by the UK Parliament and the successful motion to postpone Brexit are likely reshaping the balance of risks for the pound, and in a positive way,” analysts at Societe Generale wrote in a note. The pound was edging higher to nearly $1.33.But businesses are watching the Brexit developments with increasing nervousness about Britain crashing out of the European Union without a transitional period that would protect trade.”For each passing day without clarity, we move closer to the worst possible outcome — a cliff edge Brexit,” Marjorie Chorlins, executive director of the US-UK Business Council, said in a statement. “We urge lawmakers to move with dispatch and purpose next week to make an explicit choice on the way forward.”5. Global market overview: US stock futures were slightly higher on Friday morning.Major stocks in Asia also closed higher, while European markets edged upwards at the open. Before the Bell newsletter: Key market news. In your inbox. Subscribe now!6. Coming this week:Friday — US industrial production and US consumer confidence report