By Jamey Keaten
The World Economic Forum says billionaire Elon Musk wasn’t on the guest list for the annual meeting of business executives, global leaders and cultural trend-setters in Davos, Switzerland — despite what the Twitter owner claims.
Notables from European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen to actor Idris Elba are gathering in the ritzy Alpine town this week to talk about global issues ranging from war to climate change and technology’s effects on security.
Musk wasn’t there, though he says he was invited. Forum spokesman Yann Zopf knocked that down on Tuesday, saying the last time the Tesla CEO got an invitation was “not this year and not recently — last time in 2015.”
Musk said in a tweet on December 22: “My reason for declining the Davos invitation was not because I thought they were engaged in diabolical scheming, but because it sounded boring af lol.”
He didn’t specify when he got the invitation, but the tweet’s timing suggested it was for this year. Musk did not immediately respond to requests from The Associated Press for comment.
Organisers did extend invitations to Musk, as the boss of Tesla, to join a few times in the 2010s — the last being in 2015 — but he never registered or attended the annual meeting, Zopf said.
The gathering has been criticised for a lack of concrete action that emerges after a series of sessions and speeches, while the forum itself has been the target of online conspiracy theories from those who believe the meeting involves a group of elites manipulating global events for their own benefit.
Multibillionaire Musk, one of the world’s richest people, can certainly afford to attend Davos.
Forum members pay between 120,000 to 850,000 Swiss francs ($186,000 to $1.3 million) for annual memberships depending on the level of affiliation they want.
Many executives trek to Davos to ride the coattails of the meeting and hobnob with corporate executives who flock to town, at times taking potshots at the forum from the sidelines. For example, Richard Branson, the British tycoon behind Virgin, has reputedly come to town several times without attending the meeting itself.
Musk might be a bit busy to be palling around with the powerful in snowy Switzerland anyway.
While still grappling with the fallout from buying Twitter last year for $US44 billion ($63 billion), Musk is facing trial over his tweet about taking Tesla private in 2018.
Jury selection begins this week and he’ll have to explain his actions under oath in court in San Francisco after tweeting that he had lined up the financing to pay for a $US72 billion buyout of the electric carmaker, which never happened. It culminated in a $US40 million settlement with US securities regulators that also required him to step down as the company’s chairman.
He’s also planning to step down as CEO but remain owner of Twitter, which he succeeded in taking private last summer but has alienated some users and advertisers with chaotic job cuts and changes to content moderation policies.
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Source: Thanks smh.com