Even as Tesla offers almost every reason why Elon Musk can’t be fired from his job as CEO, two senior executives at the electric car maker and the largest shareholder in the company say the CEO owes them $162 million.
JPMorgan Chase and Electra Private Capital, the outside entity that handles the investments of Musk and Tesla’s co-founder, Martin Eberhard, filed a letter to Tesla board members on Friday saying Musk’s statements surrounding a Tesla meeting with the Securities and Exchange Commission could still fall under the wire services’ definition of “falsified or false information” which, according to NY Post writer Tara Brown, could cause “much damage.”
Since the revelation, Tesla stock has tumbled, dropping around 4 percent to a three-month low of $291 a share.
In a joint written statement, Musk has said that he is open to offering up to $40 billion to buy-out the electric car maker, a bid which will involve selling Tesla shares to the outside investors.
“We have no legal basis to recover this money and we’ve been advised that there is no basis to recover it. Further, we have no ownership interest in Tesla and thus have no contractual right to return any of our money,” the two investors said in the letter.
They said Tesla owes them the money “because Tesla’s SEC Form 10-Q report accurately described us as such prior to Musk’s statements that the Board had approved a $40 billion acquisition at the company’s recent June 20 meeting.”
The letter continues that Musk’s June 20 tweets included inaccurate information.
“We hold Elon Musk and Tesla liable for the shares sold by the company’s financial intermediary in its IPO, because Elon’s failed to identify us as an ‘independent’ investor when his tweets said that Tesla’s board had approved a $40 billion acquisition at its recent June 20 meeting,” they wrote.
JPMorgan Chase declined to comment. Electra has not commented. Musk also did not comment.
Eberhard said he believes that he and Musk have no financial ties to Tesla.
“It’s purely pure a concept that Tesla was a private company,” he said in an interview with CNBC. “You need to make a decision, you know, you say we’re going to be private to the investors and employees and it’s because we’re not running the company anymore…we’re no longer charging the shareholders in the quarterly payments.”
“It’s been a very sad situation. Of course, everyone’s pretty much worked for Tesla for a very long time and everyone really wants to go in different directions. Everyone feels like they didn’t get the right treatment by Tesla at times,” Eberhard added.
Musk co-founded Tesla in 2003 and has touted the company as the next big company in technology, taking on Tesla’s investors and letting them own the company’s stock. He has a 20 percent stake in the company.
Musk even asked for Eberhard’s resignation in 2008, claiming he had changed his mind about Tesla. However, Eberhard later renounced that decision.
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