Shareholders are accusing the businessman of misleading them about Tesla’s future
A courtroom sketch shows Elon Musk attending a hearing in San Francisco, California, January 20, 2023. © Vicki Behringer / AP
Tesla owner Elon Musk argued that investors were not expected to treat his tweets as direct calls to action, as he defended himself in a fraud trial on Friday. The case stems from a tweet he made in 2018 announcing plans to make Tesla a privately traded company.
“Just because I tweet something does not mean people believe it or will act accordingly,” the billionaire, who also owns SpaceX and bought Twitter last year, said during a hearing in a San Francisco federal court, as quoted by several news outlets. Addressing Twitter’s character limit, he added: “I think you can absolutely be truthful but can you be comprehensive? Of course not.”
Shareholders are accusing Musk of posting a misleading tweet five years ago that they say had made them lose money. In August 2018, the businessman tweeted: “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420 [per share]. Funding secured.” He then followed up with another tweet claiming that “investor support is confirmed.”
However, the alleged deal never materialized. Musk claimed several days later that he had been in talks with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, but eventually announced that Tesla would remain a publicly traded company.