UNITED STATES: In a lawsuit over two tweets from the executive that investors claim cost them billions of dollars, Elon Musk and Tesla were exonerated of any wrongdoing.
A US jury decided on Friday that the Tesla CEO had not misled investors with two tweets posted in August 2018 about a Tesla buyout that never transpired, after less than two hours of deliberation concluded a three-week trial.
Musk had previously tweeted that he had “financing secured” to take the electric vehicle manufacturer private at $420 per share. Investors said that the posts caused stocks to rise for over 10 days before declining after Musk backed out of the transaction.
The verdict is a significant win for Musk, who is involved in numerous lawsuits and has vigorously resisted any accusations of culpability. The businessman, who recently became Twitter’s CEO after paying $44 billion to buy the firm months earlier, has defended his right to post lengthy tweets on numerous occasions.
The situation was viewed as a test to determine if Musk could be held accountable for his reckless use of Twitter. During the trial, the businessman testified and said that his tweets were a democratic way to talk and didn’t always have the effect on Tesla shares that he thought they would.
In the first tweet that came under scrutiny, Musk said he had “financing secured” to take Tesla private as he boarded his private jet. A few hours later, Musk tweeted once more to say the agreement would soon be finalized. The $420 price Musk set enraged investors who thought he wasn’t treating the firm properly because it is generally recognised as a marijuana reference.
Even though he wasn’t compelled to be present, Musk showed up for the trial’s closing arguments on Friday, demonstrating how important the verdict was to him. In the end, he was praised for his vision and made fun of for being a rich narcissist whose risky behaviour threatens “anarchy.”
Along with the class action lawsuit, Musk was charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission for the tweets in 2018 and was ordered to pay a $40 million fine. Musk has to agree to the condition that a Tesla lawyer approves all of his tweets before they are posted as part of his deal with the US agency.
Musk maintained throughout his almost eight hours on the stand that he thought he had secured the money from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to take Tesla private after the business had been publicly traded for eight years.
He justified his initial tweet from August 2018 as well-intentioned and intended to let all Tesla investors know the automaker might be on the verge of ceasing to be a publicly traded company.
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