Elon Musk participated in a trial in the city of Wilmington (Delaware), in the United States, this Monday (12), to defend the acquisition of SolarCity by Tesla. The deal, carried out in 2016, is questioned by the automaker’s shareholders, who want back the US$ 2.6 billion paid in the agreement.
The testimony marked the beginning of a two-week trial in the Delaware Chancellery court. In his participation, the billionaire denied that the purchase of the solar panel maker, founded by his cousins, was a financial rescue for the business, which was about to fail.
“Since it was a share-for-share transaction and I had almost exactly the same percentage of both, there was no financial gain,” Musk argued. The businessman also said that he did not pressure the electric car startup’s board to close the deal, nor did he control the appointment, removal or compensation of directors.
According to the businessman, the purchase of SolarCity was part of his “master plan”, drawn up in 2006. In the project to remodel transport through the use of sustainable energy, the agreement was essential to guarantee the supply of a fleet of electrified and autonomous vehicles.
Influence can be costly
Filed by Tesla shareholders, the lawsuit accuses the executive of using his influence to force the takeover of SolarCity. Questioned, Musk said he had a good relationship with the directors, but the court will look for evidence of threats to advisers or that they felt afraid to question him.
If the billionaire proves to deceive shareholders or put pressure on the board, he could be ordered to reimburse the $2.6 billion spent. But there is also the chance that the court will impose payment of a reduced amount.
Responsible for the case, Judge Joseph Slights may take a few months to issue a decision, according to US media.