(Reuters) — Elon Musk is accused of insider trading in a proposed class action by investors who accuse the Tesla Inc. CEO of manipulating the Dogecoin cryptocurrency, costing them billions of dollars.
In a filing Wednesday night in Manhattan federal court, investors said Musk used Twitter posts, paid online influencers, his 2021 appearance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and other “publicity tricks” to trade profitably at their expense through several Dogecoin -wallets that he or Tesla controls.
Investors said this included when Mr. Musk sold about $124 million of Dogecoin in April after he replaced Twitter’s blue bird logo with Dogecoin̵7;s Shiba Inu dog logo, leading to a 30% increase in Dogecoin’s price.
A “deliberate course of carnival barking, market manipulation and insider trading” enabled Musk to deceive investors, promote himself and his companies, the filing said.
Musk bought Twitter last October. He also runs SpaceX, a rocket and spacecraft manufacturer, as well as Tesla, which makes electric cars.
Alex Spiro, an attorney for Mr. Musk and Tesla, declined to comment on Thursday. A lawyer for the investors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Investors have accused Mr Musk, the world’s second-richest person according to Forbes magazine, of deliberately driving up Dogecoin’s price by more than 36,000% over two years and then letting it crash.