Saudi investment chief subpoenaed in US trial over Elon Musk tweet: report

Saudi investment chief subpoenaed in US trial over Elon Musk tweet: report
2 min read
04 January, 2023
The head of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has been summoned by Tesla to testify as a defence witness in a US trial over a 2018 tweet from Elon Musk.
Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in November 2022 [source: Getty]

The head of Saudi Arabia’s multi-billion-dollar Public Investment Fund (PIF) has been subpoenaed in a San Franciso-based trial over a 2018 tweet by Elon Musk, British media reported on Tuesday.  

Tesla, an electric car company founded by Musk, has requested Yasir al-Rumayyan testify as a defence witness at a trial in order to help prove their case that a preliminary deal was struck with the Saudis before the controversial billionaire took to social media to announce he had "funding secured" to privatise the company, reported the Financial Times. 

Investors who opened the suit against Musk claim he manipulated Tesla stock prices with the tweet.

Saudi Arabia’s PIF has not yet responded to a request for comment by The New Arab over the subpoena and whether al-Rumayyan would attend the case. 

The trial begins on 17 January, and three other PIF executives have also been served, according to the Financial Times. 

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"You said you were definitely interested in taking Tesla private and had wanted to do so since 2016," Musk wrote to Rumayyan in a text message in August 2018, according to published court filings. 

Musk has accused the Saudis of throwing him "under the bus" following what he called "handshake" deals. 

In response, Rumayyan said the fund had not received the required financial information from Tesla, and that it "takes two to tango". 

"I am your friend. So, please don’t treat me like an enemy," he said. 

Last year, Musk bought Twitter in a $44-billion takeover bid. One of the largest investors in the social media platform alongside the South African tycoon is the Saudis, who retained their shares valued at $1.89 billion. 

The "funding secured" tweet has previously cost Musk and Tesla $20 million each to settle legal action from the US Securities and Exchange Commission.