FILE PHOTO: U.S. Nikola’s logo is pictured at an event held to present CNH’s new full-electric and Hydrogen fuel-cell battery trucks in partnership with U.S. Nikola event in Turin, Italy, December 3, 2019. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

An emerging competitor to Tesla is now being called an “intricate fraud” by a financial research company. Hindenberg Research accused Nikola Corp., which just struck a $2 billion deal with General Motors Co. to make electric pickup trucks, of dozens of lies by Founder and Executive Chairman Trevor Milton. 

Hidenberg’s report, released on September 10, highlighted calls, texts, and emails detailing how Nikola has been receiving funding and making partnerships while lying about the progress they have made in building actual vehicles. 

This piece from Hindenberg, which is involved in shorting the company, caught the attention of Milton, who responded via Twitter about the claims. He released several tweets, stating, “Cowards run, leaders stay and fight for integrity. Hindenburg is only making people love us more for trying to destroy us.”

The next day, he followed up by posting a tweet with pictures that showed Nikola trucks being made, mentioning, “These were planned to release later but alleged trucks didn’t exist in Ulm Germany. Do these look fake? Thanks to the Ulm fab / assembly teams for showing the trolls what’s up. You guys have my admiration. F@&k the haters.”

Trevor Milton also noted that he had contacted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the “false and deceptive” allegations against his company. On top of this, Nikola also received a statement from another research company called Citron Research in which they said they “will cover half of all legal expenses” for any investigation costs as the SEC starts looking into the situation.

Nikola’s stock price dropped 30 percent for the week. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Electric-hydrogen truck startup Nikola is an ‘intricate fraud,’ report proclaims – Roadshow – 9/10/2020
A bombshell report says Nikola founder Trevor Milton essentially lied and maneuvered his way to big-name partnerships without ever actually producing anything of value.

Short-seller accuses GM-backed Nikola Motors of being ‘intricate fraud’ – Fox Business – 9/11/2020
“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,” Hindenburg wrote in a report released Thursday, citing phone calls, text messages, emails and photographs.

Nikola shares plunge more than 15% amid dispute over short seller’s fraud allegations – CNBC – 9/11/2020
Hindenburg accused Nikola’s founder, Trevor Milton, of making false statements about the company’s technology in order to grow and partner with top automakers. “To be clear, this was not a research report and it is not accurate,” Nikola said in a statement Friday. “This was a hit job for short sale profit driven by greed.”

Nikola Hits Back At Hindenburg Fraud Report, Eyes SEC Action – The Street – 9/11/2020
Nikola said it had retained Kirkland & Ellis LLP to “evaluate potential legal recourse … to the activist short seller and any others acting in concert” following a note from Hindenburg accusing the electric-truck startup of being “an intricate fraud built on dozens of lies.”

Nikola sinks another 18% as Citron Research calls it a ‘total fraud’ and investors shun a rebuttal of the original short-seller report – Business Insider – 9/11/2020
Nikola tanked as much as 18% on Friday as investors continued to flee following the release of a scathing short-seller report. The slump extended losses on Thursday after Hindenburg Research accused the electric-vehicle company and its CEO, Trevor Milton, of overhyping its truck’s capabilities. The firm, which has a short position in Nikola, also accused Nikola of filling its multibillion-dollar order book “with fluff.”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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