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Ex-boss Tesla Australia pleads guilty to insider trading

A former CEO of Tesla Motors Australia, Kurt Schlosser, has pleaded guilty in Downing Center Court in Sydney to two counts of insider trading over his purchase of shares in a lithium miner.

Schlosser acquired 86,478 shares of US-based, ASX-listed Piedmont Lithium Ltd on September 16, 2020 after discovering in his role as country director of Tesla Australia that Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla Inc. agreement in principle with Piedmont for the supply of lithium.

Piedmont announced news of the five-year deal on September 28, which involved one of its US mines. After the deal went public and Piedmont’s stock price soared, Schlosser sold the stock for a net profit of $28,883.53.

He also told a friend that day, with the agreed facts in case he knew they were likely to acquire Piemonte stock as well.

Business regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), has taken legal action against Schlosser, who was also a former Tesla country director for NZ, launching the brand there in 2017.

Schlosser pleaded guilty on November 15 to one count of acting while in possession of inside information and one count of communicating inside information to an associate in violation of S1043A of the Corporations Act.

He will appear in court again on December 15 for a sentencing date to be determined.

At the time of the offense, any violation of s1043A of the Corporations Act carried a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

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