Private investigators hired by Elon Musk’s aides allegedly rifled through the dustbin of a British caver, Vernon Unsworth, who sued Musk for defamation, the Daily Mail reported citing Unsworth.
In an interview with the newspaper, the caver claimed messages and emails shown to his lawyers before the trial began supposedly reveal how private investigators posed as charity workers to dig up dirt on him.
Unsworth said Musk’s “paedo guy” post on Twitter sparked four investigations by Thai police, which exonerated the caver.
"My legal battle with Musk has cast a very dark cloud and come close to wrecking my life", said the Brit.
The bitter feud between Musk and Unsworth began in the summer of 2018 after a group of Thai schoolboys and their teacher became trapped in a flooded cave. Musk’s team sent a mini-submarine that could have been used in a rescue operation. Unsworth, who is an experienced caver and recruited divers for the rescue operation, called Musk’s idea "a PR stunt" and said the tech visionary could "stick his submarine where it hurts".
Musk then called Unsworth a "paedo guy" in a post on Twitter, which he later deleted and apologised for his remark. This apparently wasn't enough for Unsworth and he sued Musk for defamation.
Commenting on his verbal altercation with the tech visionary, the British caver said: "I'm a blunt Northern lad and I said the first thing that came to mind. My comments weren't aimed at Musk, but at the sub. If Musk had come out and done a full apology, got on the phone to me and said he was sorry in the media, that would have put an end to it", he told the Daily Mail.
The newspaper reported, citing legal documents, that Musk’s aides hired an investigator, who turned out to be a convicted fraudster, and allegedly encouraged him to dig up dirt on Unsworth and leak it to the media. The Daily Mail claims messages sent by the investigator reportedly suggested that Unsworth had visited sex tourism hotels in Pattaya, Thailand and that he met his Thai girlfriend, known as Tik, when she was a teenager.
Unsworth told the newspaper that Musk’s paedo allegation made him feel so terrible that he almost missed the ceremony where he was awarded an MBE – Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – for his role in the rescue operation of the Thai schoolboys. The caver said he now feels vulnerable in Britain due to vigilantes who take "these things into their own hands" and noted that he stays with friends, because he feels scared.
"I feel bad for Tik. She's been asked all these questions by people trying to find out if there's anything sordid about me. Of course it has put a strain on our relationship. You can imagine the conversations we've had”, Unsworth said.
The caver revealed that despite his losing the lawsuit he felt that he'd succeeded.
"Elon Musk was trying to break me and, at times, he came close but I wasn't intimidated by having to take him on. When the verdict came in I felt really bad, but at the same time I feel I've succeeded. Musk has admitted I'm no paedophile and, despite the strain of the past 18 months, that means a lot", Unsworth said.