San Francisco/London: There are legal problems galore for Elon Musk as a cave diver who the tech billionaire baselessly called a ‘paedo guy’ is not the only one who has threatened to sue him. A short-seller is also suing Musk for his August 7 “misleading” tweet about taking Tesla private, the media reported.
The cave diver, Vernon Unsworth, 63, said he would sue the Tesla boss for defamation in three countries – Thailand, Britain and the US, The Evening Standard reported on Thursday. Unsworth, who lives with his girlfriend in Chiang Rai, Thailand, helped rescue 12 children and their football coach who got trapped in a cave.
But he attracted Musk’s ire when he said that the tech billionaire’s mini-submarine theory for rescuing the boys had “absolutely no chance of working.” In a tweet in July, Musk had called Unsworth a “paedo”. After facing widespread backlash, Musk, who had unsuccessfully attempted to assist the rescue mission, eventually apologised to Unsworth.
But in an email to a journalist, Musk launched a fresh tirade against Unsworth, without providing any document to support his allegations, the Guardian reported on Wednesday. Musk called Unsworth a “single white guy from England who’s been travelling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years”, alleging that he had moved to Chiang Rai “for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time”.
He asserted that the city was “renowned for child sex-trafficking”. Unsowrth’s girlfriend, Woranan Ratrawiphukkun, 40, hit back at Musk’s comments saying that she was “no child bride”, adding that she had met Unsworth seven years ago when she was at least 32, according to The Evening Standard report.
But Unsowrth is not the only one who wants to sue Musk. Activist short seller Andrew Left is suing Tesla and its CEO for violating federal securities laws, CNBC reported on Thursday. According to his lawsuit, Musk manipulated the price of Tesla shares by issuing materially false and misleading information.
On August 7, Musk tweeted about taking Tesla private, sparking stock volatility due to questions about funding for his proposal. But in a blog post on August 24, Musk said that that the company would remain publicly traded. He said that existing shareholders had resisted to his plan to take it private.
One of Left’s law firms, Labaton Sucharow, announced the lawsuit in a press release on Thursday, the report said. “This appears to be a textbook case of fraud,” Labaton Sucharow partner Michael Canty was quoted as saying in the release. “We believe Musk attempted to manipulate the price of Tesla securities with false and misleading tweets, in a directed effort to harm short-sellers.”