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Elon Musk 'Probably Would Not' Take Saudi Money Following Jamal Khashoggi's Murder

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company would likely not accept investments from Saudi Arabia following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Pascal

By Alex Perry, International Business Times

When Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested he would take the electric car manufacturer private in August, he did so under the assumption that money from the Saudi Arabian government would fund the venture. However, since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, some have severed ties with the Middle Eastern country.

In an extensive interview with Recode, Musk addressed a number of timely topics, including the prospect of taking Saudi money in the wake of Khashoggi’s death. Musk said the circumstances surrounding the death of the journalist, who was often critical of the Saudi government, sounded “pretty bad.”

When asked if he would take Saudi money now, he said Tesla “probably would not” accept it. However, he cautioned against painting “an entire country with one brush” when it came to the topic of Silicon Valley firms taking investments from the Saudi government.

Tesla’s relationship with the Saudi government goes back at least two years. In August, Musk infamously tweeted that Tesla had secured funding to go private at $420 per share. It turned out he had been in talks with the Saudi Public Investment Fund to potentially take Tesla private, as a way for the country to diversify its interests beyond oil.

Saudi Arabia had previously shown interest in tech and transportation by investing $3.5 billion in Uber in 2016. At the end of the day, though, Saudi Arabia never helped take Tesla private. Musk and Tesla were investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible market manipulation, but the two sides settled for $40 million before the SEC’s lawsuit ever went to court.

Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. The Saudi government has changed its version of the story over the past few weeks, at first saying reports of his death were false. After a while, they said he died in a fight at the consulate. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly called Khashoggi a “dangerous Islamist” in a phone call to the White House this week.

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Business News: Elon Musk 'Probably Would Not' Take Saudi Money Following Jamal Khashoggi's Murder
Elon Musk 'Probably Would Not' Take Saudi Money Following Jamal Khashoggi's Murder
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company would likely not accept investments from Saudi Arabia following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
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