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Tesla sues oil exec for impersonating Elon Musk

Elon Musk
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Elon Musk

Tesla Motors is suing an oil pipeline service executive in a California court, claiming the man impersonated Tesla CEO Elon Musk in an attempt to gain undisclosed financial information.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, says Quest Integrity Group CFO Todd Katz sent an email to Tesla CFO Jason Wheeler from a Yahoo email address similar to one Musk has used in the past.

A spokesman for the Quest's parent company called the allegations involving company officials "unsubstantiated" and "absurd."

The email named in the suit reads:

why you so cautious w Q3/4 gm guidance on call? also what are your thoughts on disclosing M3 res#? Pros/cons from ir pov? what is your best guess as to where we actually come in on q3/4 deliverables. honest guess? no bs. thx 4 hard work prepping 4 today

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Tesla is seeking "undisclosed financial compensation," as well as reimbursement for the cost of Tesla's investigation into the matter and legal fees, according to Forbes. The suit also mentioned as many as 10 unnamed "Doe Defendants" that may have been involved.

"The point of this action is that this was perceived as an effort to gain inside information, non-public information," said John Hueston, an attorney representing Tesla, according to Forbes. "Although it was caught here, Tesla is worried about this happening in some other form. This could have resulted in highly valuable information being improperly disclosed."

Andre Bouchard, a spokesman for Quest's parent, Team Industrial Services, said in a statement to CNBC, that the company "became aware of the Tesla Motors lawsuit against Mr. Katz this morning via news reports and have initiated an internal investigation." Bouchard said the company takes the allegations seriously, but that "it is clear that unsubstantiated allegations of an alleged conspiracy among Quest Integrity, Team Industrial Services or our major oil company clients are absurd."

A Tesla representative directed a CNBC request for comment back to the court filing.

Seattle-based Quest inspects and analyzes the safety and integrity of pipelines, tubing, and other similar equipment used primarily in the oil, gas and power generation industries.

Read the full Forbes story here.