Nikola agrees to pay $125 million fine to settle SEC probe

Nikola agrees to pay $125 million fine to settle SEC probe
Craig Ruttle/AP

Nikola, the upstart electric truck maker, agreed to pay $125 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it let its founder, Trevor Milton, defraud investors.

Milton still faces federal criminal charges as well as his own SEC charges. He resigned as executive chairman in September 2020 after an investigation by a short seller Hindenburg Research revealed a variety of deceptions about both the company’s progress building electric and fuel cell-powered trucks as well as orders for its products.

“As the order finds, Nikola is responsible both for Milton’s allegedly misleading statements and for other alleged deceptions, all of which falsely portrayed the true state of the company’s business and technology,” said Gurbir Grewal, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “This misconduct — and the harm it inflicted on retail investors — merits the strong remedies today’s settlement provides.”

Nikola did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of its settlement and issued a statement saying that it is seeking reimbursement from Milton for costs and damages in connection with the government and regulatory investigations. According to his most recent filing, Milton and his spouse still have 49.5 million shares of Nikola, worth about $458 million.

“We are pleased to bring this chapter to a close as the company has now resolved all government investigations,” said Nikola’s statement. “We will continue to execute on our strategy and vision to deliver on our business plan.”

The-CNN-Wire
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