The whole, bizarre story takes another twist as the former oil exec accused of sending a fake email to Tesla drops his lawsuit against the company without any explanation.
A former oil industry executive being sued by Tesla for impersonating Elon Musk in an email has dropped his counter-claim that the electric automaker hacked his Twitter account, reports Automotive News.
Todd Katz, the now-former chief financial officer of Seattle-based oil pipeline company Quest Integrity Group, is accused of attempting to extract confidential financial information about Tesla by impersonating the Palo Alto-based company’s CEO, Elon Musk.
Katz sent an hilariously unconvincing email to Tesla’s CFO, Jason Wheeler, from the equally unconvincing address ElonTesla@yahoo.com.
The email, sent in August, read:
“why you so cautious w Q3/4 gm guidance on call? also what are your thoughts on disclosing M3 res#? Pros/com from ir pov? what is your best guess as to where we actually come in on q3/4 deliverables. honest guess? no bs. thx 4 hard work prepping 4 today.”
The scam was spotted immediately and Tesla filed a lawsuit against Katz in September. As many as ten other people were named in the ‘suit, that sought compensation for the alleged actions and reimbursement for all costs.
In the ‘suit, Tesla suggested the alleged phony email was part of an attempt to undermine its work and that of other companies working on alternatively powered transportation.
Quest Integrity’s general counsel, Butch Bouchard, described the allegations as “absurd”.
“It is clear that unsubstantiated allegations of an alleged conspiracy among Quest Integrity, Team Industrial Services, or our major oil company clients are absurd,” he said.
Katz then launched his own countersuit, having resigned from Quest Integrity, claiming no-one could have believed the email to be credible. His court filing said: “Nobody who received this preposterous and grammatically deficient email ever believed that it really came from Elon Musk.” As a result, he said, Tesla ultimately did not suffer any injury from the incident.
Katz, a self-described critic of Tesla’s financial performance, went on to allege that Tesla hacked into his Twitter account during its internal investigation into the fake email, in order to establish his actual identity.
But Katz dropped his ‘suit last week, without explanation. There is no indication of whether or not Tesla intends to do the same.
It’s worth noting that at no point did Katz explicitly deny sending the email.
Source: Automotive News