(Reuters) — Elon Musk is being accused of insider trading in a proposed class action by investors accusing the Tesla Inc. CEO of manipulating the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, costing them billions of dollars.
In a Wednesday night filing in Manhattan federal court, investors said Mr. Musk used Twitter posts, paid online influencers, his 2021 appearance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and other “publicity stunts” 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 Dogecoin’s Shiba Inu dog logo, leading to a 30% jump in Dogecoin’s price.
A “deliberate course of carnival barking, market manipulation and insider trading” enabled Mr. Musk to defraud investors, promote himself and his companies, the filing said.
Mr. Musk bought Twitter last October. He also runs SpaceX, a rocket and spacecraft manufacturer, as well as Tesla, which makes electric cars.
Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Mr. Musk and Tesla, declined to comment Thursday. The investors’ lawyer 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 more than 36,000% over two years and then letting it crash.