First, enter a short position. Second, launch a venomous campaign against the Elon Musk-led EV giant on social media. Next, hit a Tesla employee with your car (wait what?). And when you finally realize that (allegedly) assaulting one employee won’t tank the company’s shares, threaten to sabotage the company’s autonomous vehicle trials.
That’s one Tesla short-seller’s dubious strategy, anyway.
Tesla: Short-Seller Stalked & Threatened Company
Fremont-based Randeep Hothi, who tweets under the handle @skabooshka, calls himself a corporate fraud investigator. However, Hothi engaged in a pattern of stalking and damaging Tesla property, according to a court document filed by Tesla in Alameda County in California.
Hothi’s Twitter feed remains chock-full of anti-Tesla tweets, some of which seem to threaten billionaire founder Elon Musk.
I will not rest. This is my promise.
— skabooshka (@skabooshka) April 20, 2019
Tesla said in its filing that Hothi’s behavior was not confined to social media. The company alleged that the defendant surveilled and trespassed on private Tesla property. Hothi allegedly hit an employee with his white Acura. The “minorly injured” individual managed to take a photograph of Hothi, which led police to warn him to stay away.
Hothi, however, didn’t listen.
Tesla Critic Sabotages Road Trial
Less than a week ago, on April 16, he allegedly sabotaged a Tesla road trial that took place on a public interstate.
Hothi first attempted to disrupt filming by driving his white Acura into the frame. The filing claims he later drove his vehicle dangerously close to the Tesla to maliciously trigger its side collision avoidance system.
The crew, who did not know about Hothi’s prior antics, eventually called the police and submitted photographs revealing his erratic driving near their vehicle.
The demo conveniently bypassed the toll booth, by using lanes compatible with the “FasTrak” transponder.
Note that the vehicle did not (and most assuredly does not have the capability to) follow traffic laws. Bay Bridge entrance speed limit is 25 MPH. The vehicle drove at 45 MPH pic.twitter.com/Z8sCUsA192
— skabooshka (@skabooshka) April 18, 2019
Later, tweets from other pseudonymous Tesla bears encouraged the white Acura driver to disrupt the company’s road trials further. They challenged Hothi to “brake in front of the car, swerve into its lane, etc.” and to “drive along with it and create random events for it to react to.”
Hey @elonmusk – just letting you know that as we speak, short sellers are discussing trying to deliberately cause an accident with one of your FSD vehicles in order to make Tesla look bad. pic.twitter.com/q0XjhGFt7I
— Nafnlaus (@enn_nafnlaus) April 16, 2019
In light of these events, the court granted Tesla a restraining order against Randeep Hothi.
The Bizarre Volkswagen Connection
Hothi’s sibling, Gagan Hothi, works for Volkswagen’s advanced technology research center in Paulo Alto, according to his LinkedIn profile. Independent investigators have aptly explained how the Hothi siblings are behind various anti-Tesla accounts and might have been profiting from their antics.
“This is extremely messed up. @VW, what’s going on?” a concerned Elon Musk tweeted. “Never seen anything like it. Tesla is just trying to make electric cars & solar power for a better future for all. True, we might not succeed, but why do they want us to fail?”
So either the Hothi siblings are acting on their own to make unholy profits off TSLA shorts, or the Volkswagen-linked brothers are purposely trying to create mass hysteria against a competitor.
Overall, the corporate jungle remains a strange place to be in – like always.