Elon Musk has stated that being the CEO of Tesla is not something he enjoys.
He told a US court, “I rather despise it and would much rather spend my time on design and engineering.”
The billionaire founder of Tesla was appearing at the opening of a trial in which he is accused of forcing Tesla’s board members into a $2.6 billion (£1.9 billion) deal to buy a solar panel company.
Shareholders believe that the carmaker’s money was spent on the purchase of SolarCity, which they claim was about to run out of cash.
Mr. Musk possessed a 22 percent stake in both Tesla and the solar panel company formed by his relatives at the time of the acquisition.
“There was no financial advantage because it was a stock-for-stock transaction and I held virtually the same percentage of each,” he explained.
‘It’s all part of a bigger picture.’
He also denied pressuring board members, claiming that the acquisition was part of a “master plan” to develop affordable automobiles powered by renewable energy sources.
The shareholders who filed the lawsuit against Mr. Musk, who Forbes estimates is worth $168 billion, have urged the court to order him to return Tesla in full. That would be one of the most significant judgments ever given against a person.
Other Tesla board members resolved a lawsuit over the deal for $60 million last year. Those on the board who voted against Mr. Musk did not admit to any misconduct.
According to Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, investors will be keeping a close eye on the case.
In a note, he stated that the SolarCity merger has been a “black eye” for both Mr. Musk and Tesla and a “clear low light” in the company’s development.
Despite this, Tesla’s stock surged on Monday, ending the day more than 4% higher.
The study will last approximately two weeks. The shareholders’ counsel, Randall Baron, cautioned the entrepreneur that the case in Delaware Chancery Court was “going to be a grind.”
“I can tell by the binder,” Mr. Musk said, motioning to a thick folder of materials compiled by Mr. Baron.