Tesla CEO Musk taunts short sellers amid legal scrutiny

Tesla's board might not know where Elon's 'secure' funding is coming from

Tesla and its billionaire chief Elon Musk were hit by two new lawsuits yesterday, over claims that Musk's surprise proposal to take the company private was scheme created to target short-sellers of Tesla stock.

The complaint alleges violations of US securities law and was filed Friday as a class action in federal court in San Francisco.

The lawsuits were filed three days after Musk stunned investors by announcing on Twitter that he might take Tesla private in a record $72 billion (roughly Rs. 4.97 lakh crores) transaction that valued the company at $420 (around Rs. 29,000) per share, and that "funding" had been "secured".

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Isaacs accused Musk of making false and misleading statements to inflate Tesla's stock price, and that Tesla "doubled-down" on those statements by failing to correct them.

Mr Isaacs and the second plaintiff, William Chamberlain, have alleged that Tesla's stock price was artificially inflated and federal securities laws had been breached.

The two separate cases have been filed in a court in the Northern District of California, which is not far from where Tesla is located, Palo Alto.

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Short-sellers borrow shares they believe are overpriced, sell them, and then repurchase shares later at what they hope will be a lower price to make a profit. He said he had to buy around 3,000 Tesla shares on Wednesday, the day after Musk's tweets, to limit his losses.

Musk's tweets on Tuesday temporarily caused Tesla's share price to surge more than 13 per cent, having since crashed back down by two-thirds of that gain after the US Securities and Exchange Commission began an inquiry into Musk's activity.

No evidence has been presented by either side to prove or disprove that funding had been secured to take the company private.

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One of the lawsuits, filed by shareholderKalman Isaacs, seeks class action status on behalf of investors who bought Tesla stock on August 7 and August 8.

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