NEW YORK: Elon Musk was sued for $258 billion on Thursday by a Dogecoin investor who accused him of running a pyramid scheme to support the cryptocurrency.
In a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, plaintiff Keith Johnson accused Musk, electric car company Tesla Inc and space tourism company SpaceX of racketeering for touting Dogecoin and driving up its price, only to then let the price tumble.
Musk is CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX. “Defendants were aware since 2019 that Dogecoin had no value yet promoted Dogecoin to profit from its trading,” the complaint said. “Musk used his pedestal as World’s Richest man to operate and manipulate the Dogecoin Pyramid Scheme for profit, exposure and amusement.” The complaint also aggregates comments from Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and others questioning the value of cryptocurrency.
Tesla, SpaceX and a lawyer for Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A lawyer for Johnson did not immediately respond to requests for comment on what specific evidence his client has or expects to have that proves Dogecoin is worthless and the defendants ran a pyramid scheme.
Johnson is seeking $86 billion in damages, representing the decline in Dogecoin’s market value since May 2021, and wants it tripled.
He also wants to block Musk and his companies from promoting Dogecoin and a judge to declare that trading Dogecoin is gambling under federal and New York law. Tesla in February 2021 said it had bought $1.5 billion of bitcoin and for a short time accepted it as payment for vehicles.
SpaceX employees denounce CEO Musk as “distraction”
A group of SpaceX employees derided flamboyant billionaire and chief executive Elon Musk as a “distraction and embarrassment” in an internal letter to executives. Musk, also head of electric automaker Tesla Inc, has been in headlines and late-night comedy monologues in recent months for a tumultuous quest to buy social media giant Twitter, a reported allegation of sexual harassment that Musk has denied as well as crude comments online and a foray into political discourse.
“Elon’s behaviour in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” read the letter, which does not single out any controversy in particular. Reuters was provided a copy of the letter. “As our CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is seen as the face of SpaceX — every tweet that Elon sends is a de facto public statement by the company,” the letter added.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tesla investor sues Musk, board over accusation of workplace discrimination
A Tesla Inc shareholder sued the electric car maker and its board, accusing them of neglecting to tackle complaints about workplace discrimination and harassment, and engendering a “toxic workplace culture.” The lawsuit is the latest against Tesla, which has been accused of racial discrimination and sexual harassment in its factories.
“Tesla has created a toxic workplace culture grounded in racist and sexist abuse and discrimination against its own employees,” the investor, Solomon Chau, said. “This toxic work environment has gestated internally for years, and only recently has the truth about Tesla’s culture emerged,” he added.
The lawsuit accuses the defendants - Musk, 11 Tesla board members and the company - of having breached their fiduciary duty by failing to address and remedy the red flags concerning internal reports of discrimination and harassment.