Elon Musk told jurors on Monday he was sure he had locked up financial support from Saudi investors in 2018 to take his electric car maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) private, and could even have used his stake in rocket company SpaceX to fund a buyout, APA reports citing Reuters.
At a trial in San Francisco federal court, the billionaire, who said he was tired from a lack of sleep, spoke quietly and calmly during roughly five hours of testimony.
"With SpaceX stock alone, I felt funding was secured" for the buyout, he told a jury, referring to the aerospace company where he is also CEO, without giving any details.
But Nicholas Porritt, the plaintiff investors' lawyer, raised doubts about whether he had been looking to use his SpaceX stake to fund the deal, which would have increased his stake in Tesla. Porritt pointed out that Musk had told Tesla employees at the time he expected his stake in Tesla to remainsimilar after the deal.
Musk is defending against claims that he defrauded investors by tweeting on Aug. 7, 2018, that he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private at $420 per share, and that "investor support is confirmed." Musk added later that he chose not to take Tesla private due to a lack of support from some investors and a wish to avoid a lengthy process.
The trial tests Musk's penchant for taking to Twitter to air his sometimes irreverent views, and when the world's second-richest person can be held liable for crossing a line.