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Tesla accuses investor of harassing and stalking its workers

It has a temporary restraining order after reports of threats.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 22, 2019
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Mason Trinca for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Tesla and Elon Musk haven't been fans of people short-selling company stock (earlier talk of going private was partly a response to that), but they apparently have extra reason to be worried about one short seller in particular. The EV maker has obtained a temporary restraining order against Randeep Hothi after accusing the man of routinely threatening its staff. He reportedly injured a security guard at Tesla's Fremont factory with his car in February after he was asked to leave the parking lot, and on April 16th stalked a Tesla-owned Model 3 for 35 minutes on the freeway to the point where he forced the car into a automatic emergency maneuver to avoid a collision.

Randeep and his brother Gagan (who works for VW) allegedly also run a Twitter account that frequently blasts Musk and Tesla, proclaiming the company's doom. Previously, users also linked the Hothi brothers to Reddit accounts that moderated a Tesla stock subreddit.

Hothi hasn't addressed the restraining order so far, although a hearing on Tesla's request for a longer-lasting order is scheduled for May 7th.

Musk, not surprisingly, isn't happy. In a response to a Twitter follower who'd learned about the restraining order, the CEO said he'd "never seen anything like it" and was baffled that investors like Hothi would want the company to fail.

This isn't the first time Tesla has grappled with individuals who allegedly pose threats to the company. It accused a former factory worker of conducting "sabotage" by leaking harmful information to the media, and even said an oil industry exec impersonated him to get sensitive data. Those earlier examples weren't investors, though, and they certainly didn't put Tesla employees in physical danger. If the claims are accurate, it's an escalation that would give Tesla good reason to worry.

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