Denying one’s own death and being attacked by the world’s richest man are not two normal activities for most mortals. But such is not the case for Hungarian-American billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros, who in the last 24 hours had to resort to Twitter to deny rumors that he had suffered a heart attack.
A few hours later, the social network’s top boss, Elon Musk, attacked him directly. “Soros reminds me of [X-Men character] Magneto,” the South African tycoon posted, adding to the vitriol against a public figure who is a regular target of Europe’s far-right parties and politicians, from Viktor Orbán in Hungary to Vox in Spain.
The accusations came after Soros and his investment fund disclosed that they no longer owned shares in Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla, after quickly selling them during the first quarter of the year. The investment vehicle controlled by the Hungarian-born billionaire held Tesla shares valued at $16 million (€14.7 million). The sale of these shares was a good deal for the veteran fund manager, as Tesla stock has appreciated 55% since the beginning of the year.
Tesla is not the only company that Soros has cut out of its portfolio. Electric car manufacturer Rivian, online retail giant Amazon and Alphabet (Google’s parent company), have also been affected by the strategy shift of the Soros family’s investment vehicle, which holds an equity portfolio of approximately $5 billion.
Musk’s criticism, however, did not make any reference to Tesla’s market rally. “He wants to erode the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity,” he tweeted in response to a message by Brian Krassenstein, a Twitter user and left-wing commentator who had noted that Soros “get’s [sic] attacked nonstop for his good intentions which some Americans think are bad merely because they disagree with this [sic] political affiliations.”
You assume they are good intentions. They are not. He wants to erode the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 16, 2023
Musk had already taken aim at Soros in March of this year, when a social network user accused the Hungarian-born tycoon of supporting Alvin Bragg’s campaign for New York district attorney. Bragg was the lead investigator in the probe against former U.S. president Donald Trump over hush-money payments made to Stephanie Clifford, better known by her stage name Stormy Daniels, in a case that has brought a former U.S. president to the dock for the first time in history.
Soros figured out a clever arbitrage opportunity:— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 18, 2023
The many small political contests, such as DAs & judges, have much higher impact per dollar spent than the big races, so it is far easier to sway the outcome.
The accusation involving Soros, now compared to the Marvel series supervillain who possesses magnetic powers (and who is also of Jewish descent), is the latest in a wider series of criticisms against an investor who is strongly aligned with progressive and liberal causes through his Open Society Foundation. In 2017, the billionaire transferred a good part of his fortune, approximately $18 billion, to this foundation.
The new controversy unleashed by Musk came just hours before Tesla’s annual shareholders’ meeting, which was held at the firm’s giant factory in the state of Texas. The meeting saw the return of former Tesla executive JB Straubel as a new board member. In addition, Musk has announced that Tesla will drop its refusal to invest in publicity and start advertising to try to boost sales.
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