Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, recently took the stand in his fraud trial, which was sparked by a tweet he sent out in 2018. In the tweet, Musk had claimed that he was considering taking the company private at a share price of $420 and that the funding for the move was “secured”. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused him of making false and misleading statements, which caused Tesla’s stock price to skyrocket before plummeting when the truth came out.
Musk defended his tweet, saying that he believed it to be true when he sent it, and that he had a reasonable basis for his statements. He stated that the funding he was referencing was an offer from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to invest in Tesla. He also told the court that he did not intend to manipulate the stock price, but rather to communicate the potential for a deal that he thought would benefit shareholders.
The trial is ongoing, and it remains to be seen whether the SEC will be able to prove that Musk acted with intent to commit fraud.