Judge rejects Nikola founder’s bid to dismiss or move US criminal fraud case

NEW YORK: A US hang shut on Monday refused to push apart a federal indictment charging Nikola Corp’s billionaire founder Trevor Milton with defrauding investors about the electrical- and hydrogen-powered truck maker’s technology.

US District Recall Edgardo Ramos rejected Milton’s claim that he set up no longer need been indicted in Contemporary York for securities fraud and wire fraud because his alleged lies were in Arizona and Utah, where he lives, and the case belonged there if at all.

The Contemporary york-basically based hang shut stated Milton, 39, may well maybe doubtless simply be tried in Contemporary York if he traded Nikola stock on the Nasdaq and communicated untrue statements to that speak.

Ramos stated other factors furthermore supported keeping the case in Contemporary York despite Milton’s care for to care at dwelling for his accomplice, who in accordance with court papers has an autoimmune disorder and other “severe” health factors.

Attorneys for Milton did no longer straight answer to requests for instruct. They’ve called the indictment “legally deficient” and opinion to hunt a dismissal on substantive grounds.

Nikola has no longer been accused of wrongdoing.

Authorities stated Milton extinct a blitz of social media posts, and TV and podcast interviews to power up Nikola’s stock mark over with regards to a yr.

Prosecutors stated he wrongly claimed that Nikola had constructed an electric- and hydrogen-powered pickup from the “ground up,” developed batteries he knew it was buying in other areas, and was making development on a truck prototype he knew did no longer work.

Milton based Phoenix-basically based Nikola in 2014 and was chief executive until June 2020, when it went public after merging with a explicit-cause acquisition firm (SPAC).

SPACs, a burgeoning market, are Investment vehicles that let sponsors hang internal most companies public faster than thru initial public offerings, nevertheless which critics dispute are inclined to conflicts of passion and shoddy due diligence.

Nikola and other automobile startups possess extinct SPACs in thehope of commanding excessive market valuations, care for Elon Musk’sTesla.

Prosecutors are furthermore investigating electric truck makerLordstown Motors Corp about its SPAC and statements about automobile pre-orders.

The case is US v Milton, US District Court, Southern District of Contemporary York, No 21-cr-00478.

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