As he was interviewed by Elon Musk on Monday morning, Robinhood chief executive Vlad Tenev denied what he called “conspiracy theories” about US financial institutions and regulators amid the frenzy over GameStop shares.
Some retail investors have criticised Citadel Securities for executing orders from Robinhood traders while its owner supported a fund that had shorted GameStop shares.
Mr Musk asked Robinhood’s boss if he believed Citadel may have helped to cause an initial $3bn demand for capital from US financial regulators. “From our perspective, Citadel and other market makers weren’t involved in that,” Mr Tenev said.
“Did something shady go down here,” Mr Musk asked, leading Mr Tenev to respond: “I wouldn’t impugn shadiness, Elon, or anything like that.”
Mr Musk went on to suggest that Citadel might “have a strong say” in deciding who is employed at the National Securities Clearing Corporation, the organisation that sent the $3bn request which was later reduced to $700m.
“I don’t have any reason to believe that,” Mr Tenev replied. “You’re getting into conspiracy theories a little bit.”