A court in the US has cleared Elon Musk in a class-action securities fraud over his tweets about taking Tesla private. The jurors deliberated for about two hours before reaching the verdict, called a "disappointed" one by Nicholas Porritt, partner at Levi & Korsinsky, the firm representing the Tesla shareholders in the class action, reports CNBC.
Musk tweeted that he is "deeply appreciative of the jury's unanimous finding". His lead counsel Alex Spiro argued before the jury on Friday, saying "fraud cannot be built on the back of a consideration".
The controversial 2018 tweets by Musk on taking Tesla private has come back to haunt him and he stands to lose billions. The plaintiffs have argued that Musk's tweets about taking Tesla private, in which he said he had "funding secured", led them to lose millions of dollars.
Musk had earlier admitted in a US court that he ignored his advisors and investors while tweeting about Tesla securing funding in 2018. In August 2018, he had tweeted: "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured."
"Shareholders could either sell at 420 or hold shares & go private," he added. The notorious tweet had cost him his role as Chairman of Tesla. The August 2018 tweet resulted in Musk and Tesla reaching a settlement of fraud charges with the US SEC.
The settlement included $40 million in penalties, split equally between the company and Musk, and the removal of Musk as chairman of the Tesla board.