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'Oil barons are behind plot to sink Tesla': An extraordinary claim emerges as the car maker's shares dip 5%

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 11/08/2018 Sadie Whitelocks

Flags fly over the Tesla Inc. Gigafactory 2, which is also known as RiverBend, a joint venture with Panasonic to produce solar panels and roof tiles in Buffalo, New York, U.S., August 2, 2018. Picture taken August 2, 2018. To match Insight TESLA-SOLAR/ REUTERS/Brendan McDermid © Reuters Flags fly over the Tesla Inc. Gigafactory 2, which is also known as RiverBend, a joint venture with Panasonic to produce solar panels and roof tiles in Buffalo, New York, U.S., August 2, 2018. Picture taken August 2, 2018. To match Insight TESLA-SOLAR/ REUTERS/Brendan McDermid Oil companies are trying to sink Elon Musk's Tesla because of fears they will be hit by the rise of electric cars, it has been claimed.

Ross Gerber, the boss of US wealth manager Gerber Kawasaki, said short sellers betting against the company were being backed by Big Oil.

He said it was in the interests of these firms to talk down Tesla because they stood to lose billions of dollars if electric cars became widespread. About a third of global oil demand is from cars. 

The comments came after Musk revealed proposals to take Tesla private despite the company's debt mountain, meaning it could be one of the most expensive buy-outs in history.

It also emerged the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has invested in it. Tesla shares jumped after the announcements, although short-sellers and some analysts were sceptical a buy-out deal would occur. 

a close up of a sign: Yesterday, Tesla shares fell 5per cent and were trading near to the level they were at before Musk said he wanted to take the firm private © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Yesterday, Tesla shares fell 5per cent and were trading near to the level they were at before Musk said he wanted to take the firm private

Yesterday, shares fell 5per cent and were trading near to the level they were at before Musk said he wanted to take the firm private.

Gerber said: 'I've seen the attacks from short-sellers, many of which are just backed by the oil industry to destroy Tesla.

'When we looked into some of the short-sellers' backgrounds, we found that many of them had large positions in oil companies.

'This is big business, these guys aren't messing around, and they're definitely trying to take down Tesla.' Gerber did not give examples of the short-sellers and could not be reached for comment yesterday.

a person sitting in a car: Ross Gerber, the boss of US wealth manager Gerber Kawasaki, says it's in the interests of oil firms to talk down Tesla because they stand to lose billions of dollars if electric cars became widespread. About a third of global oil demand is from cars © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Ross Gerber, the boss of US wealth manager Gerber Kawasaki, says it's in the interests of oil firms to talk down Tesla because they stand to lose billions of dollars if electric cars became widespread. About a third of global oil demand is from cars But industry body Oil and Gas UK said: 'The claims don't marry with facts, given that many oil and gas companies are active investors in electric vehicles, produce the materials required to make them, and provide the energy needed to run them.'

Musk has long hated short-sellers, who he has described as 'jerks who want us to die'.

Tesla provokes stark divisions on Wall Street, with some big names betting against it, including billionaire hedge fund manager David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital and Carson Block's Muddy Waters Capital.

After they lost billions of dollars recently as shares surged, the 47-year-old Musk tweeted: 'Tragic. Will send Einhorn a box of short shorts to comfort him through this difficult time.'

However, many short-sellers have stuck by their positions.  

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