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Elon Musk listens to Twitter and starts selling off $5 billion of Tesla shares

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has started selling off billions of dollars worth of stock in his electric car company on the advice of his Twitter followers.

Musk had taken to Twitter (as is his wont) last week to ask whether he should sell 10 percent of his Tesla stock in order to pay taxes. The result of the poll he set up saw just shy of 58% of his followers voting for him to sell.

Now Musk appears to be making good on his promise to live by the result of his poll. New filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (via the BBC) reveal that he has already sold around $5 billion (£3.7 billion) worth of Tesla stock.

More is to come, if Musk – who once made a bold bid for Tim Cook’s job at Apple – is to fulfil his 10% promise. While $5 billion sounds like an awful lot of money, it represents just 3% of the CEO’s 240 million shares in Tesla.

Technically speaking, ‘only’ $4 billion (3.6 million shares) worth of the sale counts towards his 10% promise, given that the other $1.1 billion was already in train before the poll was posted.

The world’s richest man has come under pressure in the US in recent times for not paying sufficient income tax. Elon Musk doesn’t draw a wage from Tesla, and is instead remunerated through non-taxable awarded stock, which he then borrows against.

These Tesla stocks are said to account for the vast majority of Musk’s estimated $281.6 billion fortune, making him the richest man in the world.

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