Nikola founder lied to investors: US

Nikola founder lied to investors: US

Trevor Milton, the founder and former chief executive of Nikola Corp, has been criminally charged with defrauding investors by lying to them about the electric- and hydrogen-powered truck maker.

In an indictment, prosecutors in New York charged Milton with two counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud over his statements from November 2019 to September 2020 about Nikola's products and technology.

Prosecutors said Milton, 39, misled investors in order to drive up Nikola's stock price, become one of the world's 100 richest people and “elevate” his stature as an entrepreneur.

“Milton lied about nearly every aspect of his business,” US Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan said at a news conference.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission filed related civil charges against Milton, who was taken into custody on Thursday.

Spokespeople for Milton had no immediate comment.

Nikola said in a statement that it has cooperated with the government and is focused on delivering Tre battery-electric trucks this year.

The company was not charged.

In morning trading, Nikola shares were down $US1.03, or 7.3 per cent, to $US13.16 after falling as low as $US12.60.

The charges mark a steep downfall for Milton, who founded Nikola in 2014 and was its CEO until June 2020.

He stepped down last September as Nikola's executive chairman two weeks after short-seller Hindenburg Research labelled the company a “fraud” and said it made many misleading statements about its technology.

Prosecutors said Milton's improper statements included that Nikola had early success in creating the “Nikola One” semi-truck that he knew did not work, built an electric- and hydrogen-powered “Badger” pick-up from the “ground up” and had developed batteries in-house that Milton knew it was purchasing elsewhere.

Nikola went public in June 2020 after merging with a special-purpose acquisition company or SPAC.

The indictment said Milton became preoccupied with keeping Nikola's stock price high upon deciding to take it public.

It said that on March 2, 2020, the day before Nikola revealed it would go public, Milton emailed a board member, saying that (we) “need to make sure we are getting retail investors on our side. That is what prevents the stock short selling. This is super important to me.”

Tesla Inc is among Nikola's rivals in the electric truck sector.

Both companies' names derive from Nikola Tesla, an inventor whose work included electric power, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is now among the world's richest people.

According to prosecutors, the value of Milton's stock in the Phoenix-based company was worth at least $US8.5 billion ($A11.5 billion) soon after the announcements regarding the Badger.

Milton is still worth $US1.2 billion, Forbes magazine said on Thursday.

Nikola initially denied Hindenburg's accusations but in February said a review by an outside law firm uncovered statements by Milton and the company that were partially or completely wrong.

“We commend regulators for acting expediently to protect investors and hold Milton accountable for his egregious lies,” Hindenburg founder Nathan Anderson said in a statement.

Hindenburg issued its report two days after General Motors Co agreed to supply batteries, chassis architecture, fuel cell systems and a factory for the Badger pickup, in exchange for an 11 per cent Nikola stake and $US700 million.

The companies reworked that relationship last November, eliminating the equity stake and plans to build the truck.

Stephen Girsky, a former GM vice chairman, replaced Milton as Nikola's chairman.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Witness reluctant to make Leifer statement

An ex-school counsellor did not want to make a statement against former ultra-Orthodox school principal Malka Leifer because she thought she could be pursued for money, a court has heard. ... Read more »

Knox old boy punches woman, no conviction

A graduate of Sydney's elite Knox Grammar who drunkenly told a woman to “put your tits away” and punched her in the face after she repeatedly confronted him has had ... Read more »

Man who stabbed stranger in heart jailed

A drug-addled Victorian man who fatally stabbed a complete stranger in the chest as he got out of a lift has been jailed for at least six years and six ... Read more »

World shares at one-month low

World shares have skidded and the US dollar has firmed ahead of a week packed with global central bank meetings, while debt troubles at property group China Evergrande dragged Hong ... Read more »

NSW barking dogs murder accused acquitted

A young man who fatally shot his ice-fuelled neighbour wielding a pickaxe handle acted “reasonably” in self-defence and has been found not guilty of murder. Justice Stephen Rothman also found ... Read more »

Hot computer led Yarra Trams to IT thief

A former Yarra Trams worker who stole IT gear worth $230,000 got caught when a computer overheated, a court has heard. Paul Hewer, 36, worked in Yarra Trams' IT department ... Read more »

WA bushfire a threat to lives and homes

A bushfire burning southwest of Broome in Western Australia is a threat to lives and homes in the area, Emergency WA says. The blaze is burning out of control in ... Read more »

Coroner slams Vic police pursuit policy

Raymond Noel Thomas was driving to the shops to buy chocolate in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote in June 2017 when police in a patrol vehicle saw he was driving ... Read more »

No more whole classes home in primary education if one child is infected

The GGD looks together with the parents of an infected child with whom there has been close contact. If there are several corona cases in one group, the GGD can ... Read more »

Gomarus schools investigated by the Public Prosecution Service for discrimination on grounds of orientation

According to a spokesperson for the Inspectorate, the school group had established that schools would enter into discussions with parents of students who have a homosexual relationship. This does not ... Read more »

Palm oil price rise threatens with extension of ban on new palm oil plantations

According to experts, an extension of the ban on new palm oil plantations could cause prices to rise further. The price of palm oil has already risen enormously this year. ... Read more »

‘Moderate to very poor maintenance of tens of thousands of housing association homes'

Of the more than 2 million social rental homes in the Netherlands, at least 80,000 are moderately to very poorly maintained. This is the conclusion of RTL Nieuws based on ... Read more »

Criminal investigation into sexual orientation discrimination in Gomarus schools

The Public Prosecution Service has launched a criminal investigation into the reformed school community Gomarus. The Education Inspectorate has reported that students would be discriminated against because of their sexual ... Read more »

Pedagogical Professional of the Year winners are known

The Pedagogical Professional of the Year 2021 was announced on Thursday by initiators Pedagogical Professionals in Childcare (PPINK) and the trade journal Childcare. The winners are Denise Rondeel of Tante ... Read more »

Work pressure high in childcare, quarter of employees are considering quitting

The survey shows that a third of healthcare workers were able to take less time off. In branches where an annual hours system is used, such as in childcare, hours ... Read more »

ROC Tilburg teacher Kirsten Cuppen nominated for ‘Global Teacher Prize'

Dutch teacher at the ROC Tilburg, Kirsten Cuppen, has been nominated for the Global Teacher Prize 2021. She is one of the fifty nominees for a chance to win one ... Read more »

VR glasses should make primary school students resilient against shame sexting

A new program is intended to make students from groups 7 and 8 resilient against shame-sexting. Shame-sexting is making or distributing sexually explicit photos or videos without permission. Ten percent ... Read more »

Research into special funding in primary and special education

Just like last year, the Inspectorate will also this year carry out an investigation into the lawful acquisition of special funding at some of the boards in primary and special ... Read more »

Fifty children kidnapped by parent during the summer holidays

Last year there were 34 kidnappings, the lowest number in five years. According to the International Child Abduction Center (IKO), this had to do with travel restrictions due to corona. ... Read more »

FNV vice-chairman: ‘We should not try to maintain all jobs'

Increasing waiting lists in healthcare, factories that have to refuse orders, restaurants that shorten their opening hours. For employers, the staff shortages are starting to hurt. But ask Zakaria Boufangacha, ... Read more »

Universities of applied sciences agree in principle for collective labor agreement 2021-2022

The Association of Universities of Applied Sciences and the trade unions in education – Aob, FNV, FvOv and CNV Education – have succeeded in agreeing an agreement in principle for ... Read more »

NHL Stenden Lector Nynke Boonstra nominated for Els Borst Award

On Thursday, September 16, Dr. Nynke Boonstra lecturer Care & Innovation in Psychiatry at NHL Stenden that her colleagues have nominated her for the Els Borst Award. The Award is ... Read more »

Students University of Twente successfully launch their first rocket

Students from the University of Twente launched their first rocket on a field in Baarlo on Sunday 12 September. With the launch, the students wanted to gain experience with their ... Read more »

A European school is Europe in miniature: ‘Multilingual and multicultural'

Suppose you are going to work for a European institution. The European Central Bank, for example, or the European Commission. Then your children can go to a European school. “European ... Read more »

absenteeism in childcare is rising fastest

Figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) show that absenteeism among childcare employees (6.9 percent) has risen fastest compared to last year. In the second quarter of 2021, absenteeism due to illness ... Read more »

Woman visits gynecologist for 9 years ‘who suddenly turns out to be her own father'

A New York state doctor is accused of using his own sperm to impregnate at least two female patients at his fertility clinic. One of his alleged children, Morgan Hellquist, ... Read more »

Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion

Today the Knowledge Point MBO Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Inclusion of the MBO Council launches its website. “Every citizen in the Netherlands must be given the opportunity to participate. That ... Read more »

The broadcast of September 16

Pieter Omtzigt is back in the political arena Pieter Omtzigt is back in the House of Representatives after four months of sick leave. When he went on leave, he was ... Read more »

school staff are more likely to bully LGBTI+ youth than heterosexuals

“It is the first study with nationally representative data on the experiences with bullying behavior of LGBT students in the Netherlands,” said researcher Tessa Kaufman. The researchers’ findings were recently ... Read more »

closure of schools least popular corona measure

Even though a large part of the Dutch have been vaccinated and the pressure on healthcare has decreased in recent months, the virus can erupt in full force again. RIVM ... Read more »

Digital higher education still vulnerable

The study ‘Inside without knocking – Digital resilience in higher education’ shows that, partly due to the incidents, digital security has become a topic of discussion among higher education boards. ... Read more »

European School The Hague is opened by Princess Laurentien

Princess Laurentien’s visit includes a tour of the school, meetings with students and an official ceremony where she will hand over the keys to the building to student representatives and ... Read more »

Scared at PSG about Kylian Mbappé

Mbappé had to be replaced shortly after the break in the Champions League match against Club Brugge (1-1) due to an ankle injury. “He sprained an ankle and he already ... Read more »

Podcast | ‘Umpteenth masterpiece by Erik ten Hag' | Champions League & Europa League

Ajax has started the new Champions League season convincingly. In Lisbon, Sporting won 1-5. Partly thanks to four goals from Sébastien Haller. In the AD Voetbalpodcast, reporter Maarten Wijffels and ... Read more »

Truck tax introduction by 2026 will cost twice as much

Trucks on Dutch highways will have to pay a charge per kilometer in the course of 2026. However, introducing such a truck tax will cost at least twice as much ... Read more »

More and more HBO lecturers are slightly decreasing in terms of salary.

According to the collective labor agreement, a pay scale is tailored to the tasks of employees. They get more pay for more difficult work. The salary differences between universities of ... Read more »

Central registration moment for secondary education: House of Representatives votes in favour

The bill regulates, among other things, that all group 8 students can register for secondary education at one central moment, in the week of 1 April. However, after any adjustments ... Read more »

Small party leaders ‘constructive' towards minority government

Many small parties will approach a minority government constructively. That is the common thread in the conversations that informateur Remkes had today with group leaders of smaller parties who supported ... Read more »