Roller Coaster: A Tesla shareholder advocate with a stock chart
Photo: John G. Mabanglo/EPA
In the trial against Elon Musk for misleading tweets about the electric car manufacturer Tesla, the company boss has been acquitted of allegations of fraud.
This decision was made by a jury in San Francisco on Friday.
The nine jurors concluded that the plaintiffs failed to establish that Musk was responsible for their stock market losses.
The process involved announcements by Musk on the short message service Twitter in 2018, which had triggered strong price fluctuations on the stock exchange.
At the time, Musk had announced on Twitter that he wanted to take Tesla private for a price of $420 per share.
Funding for this is »secured«.
The announcement caused immense price fluctuations in Tesla shares, but Musk later backed down.
It became clear that the financing was anything but secured.
Richter had already decided on the truthfulness of the tweets
Investors subsequently sued Musk.
They accused the currently second richest person in the world of lying and "artificially manipulating" the price of Tesla shares with the aim of harming all investors who had bet on a falling share price.
The entrepreneur had rejected the allegations of fraud in court, now the jury followed him in their decision.
The process lasted a total of three weeks, but in the end the jury quickly came to an agreement.
After just two hours of deliberation, the jury found Musk not guilty.
The procedure was made a little more complex than usual by the fact that the judge responsible had already ruled last year that Musk's claims in the tweets did not correspond to reality.
The jury was accordingly instructed to assume so.
But they still had to decide whether Musk's tweets had moved the share price and were decisive for the actions of the plaintiffs.
If the jury had ruled against Musk, billions could have been at stake.
Musk commented on the decision on Twitter
Shortly after the court decision, Musk spoke up – via Twitter, of course.
“Thank God human wisdom has prevailed!
I am deeply grateful for the jury's unanimous finding of innocence in the Tesla 420 case trial," the Tesla and Twitter boss said.
The tweets about Tesla also got Musk into trouble with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
As part of an agreement, he had to give up the chairmanship of the Tesla board of directors, pay a fine of $20 million and have tweets about Tesla approved by a lawyer.
Read the recently published SPIEGEL cover story about Elon Musk here: Self-Destruction of a Superstar.