Remember when Nikola Motors, the troubled would-be Tesla for trucks, rather indignantly denied every one of a short-seller’s 15,000 words laying out how the company was nothing but an elaborate fraud? How it said it was “replete with misleading information and salacious accusations”? Including the bit where Hinberburg Research accused Nikola founder and soon-to-be-former chairman and CEO Trevor Milton of “dozens of outright lies”? How it was all a “hit job… driven by greed,” none of it “accurate,” and much of it potentially legally actionable? Yea, well, it seems that those statements were themselves replete with misleading information, and arguably some salacious accusations, such as the bit about market manipulation and it all being, you know, a “hit job… driven by greed,” statements which in light of new information that has come to light could, one might argue, especially if one were Hindenburg Research and were looking to pad one’s short-selling gains, are worthy of the evaluation of “potential legal recourse.”
Nikola said Thursday that its review of Hindenburg’s allegations found that nine statements by the company or Mr. Milton were wholly or partially inaccurate…. Nikola didn’t directly address other allegations in the short seller’s report other than to say: “In other respects, the Hindenburg article’s statements about the company were inaccurate.”
Well, given the track record, we’ll certainly take those assurances at face value, guys. Unfortunately for Nikola, it seems unlikely to us that the SEC and Justice Department (or, you know, the not-so-lying liars at Hindenburg) will do the same.
The review didn’t issue any conclusions as to whether any of the inaccurate statements violated any statute…. Hindenburg said it believed the disclosure amounted to an admission of securities fraud. A spokeswoman for Nikola declined to comment on the disclosure.