Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla, will testify in court on Wednesday over his $50 billion compensation package as the company’s CEO.
Musk will give a testimony in the same Delaware court that Twitter sued him in to ensure that he completed his acquisition of the social media platform.
Musk has come under intense scrutiny following his $44 billion purchase of Twitter because of his enormous layoffs, fear-mongering of advertisers, and opening the network to phoney accounts.
The unrelated Tesla case is based on a complaint by shareholder Richard Tornetta, who accused Musk and the company’s board of directors of failing in their duties when they authorised the pay plan.
Tornetta alleged that Musk dictated his terms to directors who were not sufficiently independent from their star CEO to object to a package worth around $51 billion at recent share prices.
The Tesla shareholder accused Musk of “unjustified enrichment” and asked for the annulment of a pay programme that helped make the entrepreneur the richest man in the world.
According to a legal filing, Musk earned the equivalent of $52.4 billion in Tesla stock options over four and a half years after virtually all of the company’s targets were met.
When the plan was adopted, it was valued at a total of $56 billion.
The non-jury trial began Monday with testimony from Ira Ehrenpreis, head of the compensation committee on Tesla’s board of directors, who said the targets set were “extraordinarily ambitious and difficult”.
Ehrenpreis argued that the board wanted to spur Musk to focus on Tesla at a time when the company was still struggling to gain traction.
The trial will run through Friday and is being presided over by Judge Kathaleen McCormick, the same judge who was to preside over the Twitter case.
There is no deadline for her decision which could take months.
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