The founder of the embattled electrical truck start-up Nikola has offered $49m value of shares within the firm, a transaction that posted late on the Friday night of a vacation weekend.

Trevor Milton, who stepped down as govt chair seven months in the past within the wake of a brief vendor’s report and online accusations, offered 3.5m Nikola shares on Wednesday on the closing value of $13.89. The transaction appeared on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s web site two days later after enterprise hours, suggesting a want to keep away from publicising the sale.

The value was above the 52-week low of $10.51, however a fraction of the inventory’s June peak of $93.99.

The Phoenix, Arizona-based firm declined to remark.

Both the US Department of Justice and the SEC are investigating Nikola, which the quick vendor Hindenburg Research described as “an intricate fraud”. The firm disputes the characterisation however has admitted that lots of the statements Milton made about Nikola’s progress and technical prowess had been wholly or partly inaccurate.

The pre-revenue firm intends to promote heavy-duty electrical vehicles to prospects who will then pay a subscription to make use of Nikola’s deliberate hydrogen fuelling community.

Nikola attracted consideration final summer season when it went public via a merger with a particular goal acquisition firm; not solely was its identify associated to the electrical automobile maker Tesla’s (each are named in honour of the inventor Nikola Tesla), its founder had the same penchant for Twitter as Elon Musk. General Motors introduced in September it will take a stake within the firm, however after the quick vendor’s report and ensuing investigations, the deal withered right into a smaller settlement to provide the start-up.

Milton made brash claims about Nikola in interviews, press releases and on social media. Among the claims that the corporate now says had been inaccurate was Milton’s assertion that an early truck, the Nikola One, might totally operate. A now-infamous video purporting to point out the truck “in motion” truly depicted it rolling down a hill.

Nikola is attempting to relegate Milton’s tenure to the rear-view mirror. The firm has deserted a plan to fabricate a pick-up truck with GM and shut a division to construct all-terrain autos and watercraft. But it has needed to pay $8.1m thus far towards his legal fees.

Milton stays the most important shareholder at Nikola, with 21 per cent of the corporate. Chief govt Mark Russell owns the second largest stake at just below 11 per cent.

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