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Kallanish Kallanish

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September, 17th 2021

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JUL 30
11:52

US hits Nikola founder with fraud charges

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The pressure continues to mount against US electric vehicle start-up Nikola with the news that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has levied fraud charges against founder and former ceo Trevor Milton, Kallanish reports. 

The SEC says that Milton raised more than a $1 billion from private investors with shaky claims for the capabilities of its vehicle prototypes. 

“We allege that Milton repeatedly made claims, mostly through social media, that either misstated or far exceeded what Nikola and its products actually did or could do,” says Fort Worth SEC regional director David Peavler. “Public company officials cannot say whatever they want on social media without regard for the federal securities laws. The same rules apply, and the SEC will hold those who make materially false and misleading statements accountable regardless of the communication channel they use.” 

At least one damning claim made against Nikola by Hindenburg Research is that video of Nikola’s vehicles in motion under their own power are simply videos of them being rolled downhill. 

“We reveal how, in the face of growing skepticism over the functionality of its truck, Nikola staged a video called ‘Nikola One in Motion’ which showed the semi-truck cruising on a road at a high rate of speed,” the firm wrote in September 2020. “Our investigation of the site and text messages from a former employee reveal that the video was an elaborate ruse - Nikola had the truck towed to the top of a hill on a remote stretch of road and simply filmed it rolling down the hill.”

Dan Hilliard USA