Elon Musk gifted almost $6 billion worth of Tesla Inc. shares to charity in November. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the sale of more than five million shares took place between November 19 to November 29 last year.
The “gift” remains one of the biggest ever to a charity. An unidentified trust was involved in the transaction, and the name of the charity wasn’t cited in the document.
The donation occurred as Musk, Tesla’s chief executive officer, battled with politicians, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren over inequality and a potential wealth levy. Around the same time, Musk suggested he’d sell stock if the United Nations could prove it would help solve world hunger after the head of the organisation’s food-aid arm suggested billionaires like Musk should “step up now, on a one-time basis.”
A large gift to charity last year would help reduce what Musk claimed would be the biggest tax bill in US history. Analysts calculated in December that Musk could owe more than $10 billion to the Internal Revenue Service, triggered by his exercise of an unusually large number of options in 2021. Sceptics, therefore, question his act of “donating” to an “unnamed charity.”
Musk has an eponymous foundation that’s become more active over recent years, with large, eight-figure gifts promised to the city near his South Texas spaceport, a $100 million competition for carbon removal and $5 million to two scientists for Covid-19 research. Earlier, his foundation’s largest contributions were to donor-advised funds, or DAFs, where charitable money can sit in perpetuity.
The Musk Foundation, which had Musk’s brother Kimbal as a director, has recently added a new face. Reportedly, the primary point of contact at the foundation now is Igor Kurganov, a professional poker player-turned-philanthropist.