Elon Musk testifies Saudis wanted to take Tesla private in 2018

elon musk
Credit: Tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been put on the witness stand again in the ongoing fraud trial concerning plans to take the company private. Musk is being sued by some investors over his allegedly false claim on Twitter that Saudi Arabia was ready to fund taking the EV company private.

Questioned by plaintiff attorney Nicholas Porritt, Musk testified in the San Francisco court on Monday morning that he met with representatives of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). The meeting reportedly happened on July 2018 at Tesla’s Fremont plant in California.

The billionaire CEO said there was no discussion of a take-over price. However, according to him, the PIF representatives clearly indicated they would do all it took to see the buyout through.

“PIF unequivocally wanted to take Tesla private,” he said in court.

Musk is sued by the investors claiming they lost millions of dollars after Musk’s infamous tweet on securing funding to take Tesla private at $420 per share. The company’s stock shot up but fell after it became clear a deal was not going to happen.

The jury in the case will decide whether Musk inflated Tesla’s shares by promoting a buyout. The case seems to have merit as another judge ruled last year that the post was untruthful and reckless. However, Musk asserted he believed he could have sold enough shares in his other company SpaceX to fund the buyout of Tesla at the time.

The tweet also led to a $40 million settlement with the Securities Exchange Commission. Musk was compelled to run his tweets by a Tesla lawyer before posting them.

His lawyer, Alex Spiro, argued in court last week that Musk was using Twitter for communication to protect investors from media leaks. He, however, admitted the tweet contained “technical inaccuracies.”