A federal jury in San Francisco (USA) declared this Friday the businessman Elon Musk not responsible for the alleged million-dollar losses that several investors attributed to his 2018 tweets in which he said he had enough funds to take Tesla public, something that never happened.
The jury of nine people delivered the verdict in just two hours after retiring to deliberate, after a civil trial that has lasted three weeks and in which if the tycoon misled investors with his controversial messages on Twitteraccording to local media reports.
It is a victory for Musk, who testified throughout the process to ensure that he did have enough capital to take the company public thanks to commitments from the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund and his own participation from SpaceXand also indicated that he had no bad intentions towards investors.
“I’m considering taking Tesla public at $420. secured financing“, said the tweet under scrutiny in the case, in which Musk referred to the price per share that he could offer in the operation and that would have valued the company at about 72,000 million dollars.
He then added another message saying: “Investor support is confirmed. The only reason this is not certain is that it depends on shareholder vote.”
After the messages Tesla’s share price rose sharply and then fell uus days later when the media began to report that he actually did not have that funding secured.
Musk seemed to start at a disadvantage, since the judge, Edward Chen, had found that these statements were false and misleading, but the jury had to determine if these messages were the ones that affected Tesla’s price, the possible intent of the defendant and the cost they had for the plaintiffs.
First, the jury had to decide whether the messages published by Musk misled investors and then calculate the economic impact they had, so that by rejecting that first assumption, the businessman is saved from having to pay millions of dollars in compensation to the plaintiffs.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the panel said that investors did not provide sufficient evidence to back up their argument that Musk caused them harm by writing the tweets about the potential IPO.
“The jury has understood the correct thing. That’s all I’m going to say,” commented Alex Spiro, one of Musk’s and Tesla’s lawyers – also accused – after the verdict was announced, while the investor defense said they were considering their next steps, according to local media.
The tweets already led the US Securities and Exchange Commission to accuse Musk of fraud in 2018 and the businessman accepted a fine of 20 million dollars as a sanction. and leave for at least three years as president of the company’s board of directors, although he continued to be its CEO.