- Musk defended his “funding secured” tweet in a securities fraud lawsuit brought by Tesla shareholders.
- He testified that he sent the tweet after verbal assurances from Saudi investor Yasir Al-Rumayyan.
- Musk blamed al-Rumayyan, who he accused of “backing down” on their plans.
Elon Musk said he tweeted about planning to take Tesla partially private after assurances were given by a major Saudi Arabian investor whom he accused of later “resigning” and “undercovering his ass” to sneak out of an alleged agreement .
In an ongoing civil case in a San Francisco federal court, Musk continued to defend his 2018 tweet about “secured funding” for a Tesla transaction, saying Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Private Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, had “orally” expressed his support for the project.
Musk said Al-Rumayyan told him, then-Tesla Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja, and Musk’s then-Chief of Staff Sam Teller at a July 2018 meeting that Saudi investors were “committed” to a plan they were discussing Take the carmaker private.
He said Al-Rumayyan told them “they would do anything to get it done” and that he “clearly” supported the deal. Then, in a conversation following Musk’s tweet, Al-Rumayyan softened his stance, saying that the Saudi PIF is interested in exploring possible investment opportunities with Tesla, Musk said.
“At this point, Yasir is obviously backing down from what he told me and Deepak and Sam that they were involved in the transaction,” Musk said in testimony Monday in the ongoing civil lawsuit alleging Musk with the investors’ claims that he misled her into wanting to take Tesla private and having secured the funding to do so.
“That’s ass-covering, for lack of a better word,” he added, hinting that Al-Rumayyan may have been concerned about potential legal exposure.
Al-Rumayyan, Musk and lawyers for Musk and Tesla shareholders did not respond to a request for comment from Insider before the release. PIF and Tesla spokespersons also did not respond to a request for comment. The request was made outside of normal working hours in Saudi Arabia.
In text messages between Musk and the investor, revealed during the pretrial investigation last year, Tesla CEO Al-Rumayyan accused him of throwing him “under the bus.” At the time, the texts show that Al-Rumayyan said PIF could not commit to a project “about which we do not have enough information”.
In 2020, the sovereign wealth fund sold 99.5% of its Tesla holdings after hedging its position on the electric car in 2019, shortly after Musk agreed to be fined $20 million with the Securities and Exchange Commission over his tweet to count.
Musk will comment for a third day on Tuesday. The billionaire claims he was planning to take Tesla private when he tweeted “funding secured” in August 2018. Tesla shareholders, who bought the electric carmaker’s shares in the days following the tweet, are suing him, demanding billions in damages.
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