(Bloomberg) — Nikola Corp. founder and former chairman Trevor Milton raised about $77 million selling shares in the electric-truck maker, days after pleading not guilty to charges he misled investors to hype the stock.
The disposals were disclosed in a filing late Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Milton indirectly owned the shares through M&M Residual LLC — a Nevada company he wholly owns — and his spouse, according to the filing.
On July 23, six days before Milton was charged with securities fraud and accused of lying about Nikola’s business and technological capabilities, he and M&M Residual transfered 600,000 and 1.15 million shares to his spouse, the filing shows.
While Milton stepped down as executive chairman in September, he remains the truckmaker’s largest shareholder. In December, he said he remained committed to his Nikola stake and didn’t plan to relinquish his position as top holder.
Prosecutors claim Milton misled investors about Nikola’s first semi-truck prototype and a pickup the company briefly planned to market through a partnership with General Motors Co. He was freed by a judge on $100 million bail that was secured by a 2,700-acre ranch in Utah he owns and promised to limit his travel and not to contact investors.
Since Milton resigned — just three months after Nikola went public by merging with a blank-check company — Nikola has struggled to maintain investor confidence and scaled back its once-grandiose ambitions.
GM scrapped plans to manufacture a pickup for Nikola in November, and the company lowered its initial vehicle delivery projections this week, warning of nagging supply chain issues.
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