Ex-Tesla head guilty of insider trading

A former Tesla Motors director profited almost $30,000 from insider trading by acquiring shares in a lithium firm before it cemented a deal with the electric vehicle manufacturer.

At Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday, Kurt Mathias Schlosser pleaded guilty to two counts of insider trading after purchasing more than 86,000 shares in Piedmont Lithium on September 16, 2020.

At the time, he was informed of an in-principle agreement reached between Tesla and Piedmont for the supply of lithium from a mine in North Carolina, USA.

According to a September 2020 stock market statement by Piedmont regarding the five-year agreement, around 53,000 tonnes of lithium was planned to be purchased by Tesla from Piedmont each year.

After details of this agreement were made public and the share price rose, the North Sydney-based Schlosser sold his shares for $28,883.53 in profit.

As well as personally benefiting from the insider information, the 42-year-old also pleaded guilty to telling a friend of the proposed agreement, knowing he too would purchase Piedmont shares.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions launched its case against Schlosser after an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

The maximum jail time for each insider trading count is 15 years.

Schlosser will next appear at Downing Centre District Court on December 16 when a date for sentence will be set.