Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk unloaded US$5 billion ($6.75 billion) of stock in the electric-car maker, shortly after fueling a social media debate over the tax treatment of billionaires’ shareholdings.
The world’s richest person has disposed of more than 4.5 million shares so far this week, according to regulatory filings. Those were his first sales in more than five years.
Musk, who frequently stokes controversy on Twitter, created a firestorm over the weekend with a survey asking whether he should sell part of his Tesla stake. While he portrayed his proposal as having to do with debate over the ultra-wealthy avoiding taxes, the filings released Wednesday show some of the transactions were pre-arranged in mid-September -- weeks before the poll. He also didn’t mention in the tweets that he has millions of stock options that must be exercised before next August, when they expire.