Nikola, Tesla’s electric vehicle competition, has been granted $2 million, despite its founder facing criminal charges. This is the second grant the company has received, the first being $1.7 million back in 2019.
Nikola’s founder, Trevor Milton, was forced to resign in September stating “The focus should be on the company and its world-changing mission, not me. I intend to defend myself against false accusations leveled against me by outside detractors,” Milton said in a since deleted statement posted on Twitter.
Milton was resigned as executive chairman of Nikola in September 2020 after allegations of his corruption were made public in a report by Hindenburg Research. On July 29, 2021 Milton was charged with securities and wire fraud.
The report reads “Today, we reveal why we believe Nikola is an intricate fraud built on dozens of lies over the course of its Founder and Executive Chairman Trevor Milton’s career.”
It continues “We have gathered extensive evidence—including recorded phone calls, text messages, private emails and behind-the-scenes photographs—detailing dozens of false statements by Nikola Founder Trevor Milton. We have never seen this level of deception at a public company, especially of this size.”
Hindenburg Research, funded by targeting corrupt companies, published a report on Thursday with criminal allegations , including that Nikola and its founder and executive chairman Trevor Milton presented a non-functional prototype truck as being ‘closer to market than stated.’
“These allegations by the short seller are false and misleading, and designed to manipulate the market to profit from a manufactured decline in Nikola’s stock price,” Nikola said in response
Hindenburg Fires Back
Hindenburg founder Nathan Anderson called Nikola’s response “completely inadequate” in a statement and later released another report, claiming that “Nikola either confirmed or sidestepped virtually everything we wrote about.”
“Nikola failed to address 43 of our 53 questions.” adding “The company says it never claimed the truck was powering itself, despite deceptive editing and claims that it had “1,000 HP” with “Sports Performance””
Timeline of Corruption
In June 2021, Nikola invested $50 million in a new hydrogen factory
“Today’s criminal charges against Milton are where the rubber meets the road. Now Milton will have to answer in a court of law for his allegedly false and misleading statements,” said Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “This is a very straight forward case. Milton told lies to generate popular demand for Nikola stock. Milton’s lies were instrumental in driving retail investors to eagerly buy up Nikola’s stock.”
“Milton wanted to be in control and didn’t want bankers telling people what his company was like,” said Strauss. “Milton exploited this feature of the SPAC for his own benefit.” She said
According to CNN, prosecutors allege that Milton claimed Nikola had a “fully functioning” semi-truck prototype known as the “Nikola One,” when he knew that the prototype was inoperable.
Audrey Strauss, said “the closest it ever came to operating was when it was pushed to the top of a hill then rolled down to produce a video showing it in motion.”
The indictment also says Milton, was serving as executive chairman of the company at that time, also claimed that the company “was producing hydrogen at a reduced cost,” when in fact, no hydrogen was being produced at all by Nikola.
This is another example of corporate corruption and the Biden Administration taking advantage of honest hard working Americans, who’s taxes will pay the $2 Million advance for Nikola. What other companies guilty of similar crimes, swim under the radar, yet are still in operation?