Nikola awarded $165 million in arbitration proceeding with founder Trevor Milton

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Nikola Corp. has been awarded $165 million in an arbitration proceeding with its founder and former executive chairman, according to a regulatory filing.

The electric and hydrogen-powered heavy truck maker said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it sought reimbursement from Trevor Milton for costs and damages related to actions that were part of government and regulatory investigations, including a December 2021 SEC settlement and associated civil penalty.

Milton previously pleaded not guilty to securities and wire fraud. The former executive, who resigned from Nikola in 2020, was found guilty on three of four counts of fraud in October 2022. In August he lost a bid for a new trial, according to several media reports.

Nikola’s stock price plunged in 2020 and investors suffered heavy losses as reports questioned Milton’s claims that the company had already produced zero-emission 18-wheel trucks.

The company paid $125 million in 2021 to settle a civil case against it by the SEC. Nikola didn’t admit any wrongdoing.

Nikola said in the filing that it plans to file with the arbitration panel an application to recover attorneys’ fees related to the matter.

Shares of the Phoenix-based company soared more than 19% in morning trading on Tuesday.

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