PublishedJanuary 18, 2023, 8:19 pm
Court in the USA “Elon Musk made people lose millions”
The Tesla boss has had to face US justice since Tuesday for his famous 2018 message in which he said he wants to take his auto group off the stock exchange.
More than four years after tweeting that he was about to take Tesla off the stock market, Elon Musk must be held accountable in court by investors who are offended by his statements after already experiencing the wrath of the authorities. “Elon Musk, the (then) CEO of Tesla, lied and people lost millions of dollars because of his lies,” said Nicholas Porritt, an attorney for the plaintiffs, the investors united in the class action. On August 10, 2018, they filed a complaint against a business executive for “artificially manipulating Tesla’s share price to completely ruin investors” who were betting on the price drop.
The fraud trial began on Tuesday in San Francisco with a nine-member jury selection and is expected to run for three weeks. Elon Musk is on the witness list. He made a splash on August 7, 2018 when he said he wanted to get his group out of the stock market when the stock hit $420.
He added that the funding for the operation was “reliable” and indicated a few days later that he was in talks with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, among other things. The electric car manufacturer’s title skyrocketed to $386.48. By Aug. 16, it had fallen to $335.45, according to figures provided to jurors on Tuesday by Judge Edward Chen.
“Plaintiffs intend to prove that the defendants made false or misleading statements that harmed them, and that they suffered losses during this period,” the magistrate concluded. In addition to Elon Musk, Tesla as a legal entity and members of the board of directors of the manufacturer at that time were involved in this procedure.
For four and a half years, Elon Musk never stopped explaining himself in this famous tweet. Tesla quickly dropped the idea of delisting, but the US stock market policeman, the SEC, filed a complaint, believing the boss failed to provide proof of its funding. “These misleading claims resulted in significant market turmoil within minutes of the tweet being posted,” hurting investors, the SEC’s Steven Peikin said at a press conference.
The regulator ordered Elon Musk to relinquish his chairmanship of Tesla’s board of directors, pay a $20 million fine, and later required his tweets directly related to Tesla’s business to be pre-approved by a competent lawyer. In the spring, the multibillionaire again tried to have this decision invalidated, but in vain.
“Biased and Negative Articles”
But government intervention has not curbed his appetite for provocation on Twitter, his favorite social network, which he bought in October after months of turmoil and under threat of legal action. Since then, his controversial decisions at the helm of the platform have sparked outrage almost daily, to the point last week that his lawyers asked a California judge to move the trial to Texas.
They fear that their client will not be able to benefit from a fair trial in San Francisco, where Twitter is headquartered and where local media, they say, have multiplied “biased and negative articles about Elon Musk.” In a previous ruling in the case, the judge ruled that the famous 2018 tweet could be considered “false and misleading.”