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Musk: ‘Pedo guy’ tweet not accusing diver of paedophilia

LOS ANGELES Tesla founder Elon Musk said in a court filing on Monday that he did not mean to accuse a British caver of paedophilia when he referred to him as "pedo guy" in a tweet.

Mr Musk, who is being sued for defamation by Mr Vernon Unsworth, who helped in the dramatic rescue of 12 boys trapped in an underwater cave in Thailand last year, claimed the term "pedo guy" was a common insult used in South Africa when he was growing up.

"It is synonymous with 'creepy old man' and is used to insult a person's appearance and demeanour, not accuse a person of acts of paedophilia," he said in his court filing.

The dispute between the two men erupted after Mr Unsworth said a miniature submarine Mr Musk sent to Thailand to help with the rescue efforts would have been ineffective and was nothing more than a "PR stunt".

He added that Mr Musk could "stick his submarine where it hurts".

Mr Musk responded with a series of tweets in which he called Mr Unsworth a "pedo guy".

He deleted the tweets and issued an apology after widespread outrage.

Still, Mr Musk said in his court filing that following his spat with Mr Unsworth, one of his aides hired a private investigator who uncovered "disturbing information" about the diver and claimed people involved in the cave rescue thought he was "creepy".

Additionally, Mr Musk says, the investigator "reported that Mr Unsworth associated with Europeans who engage in improper sexual conduct in Thailand and had been travelling to Thailand since the 1980s".

Mr Unsworth, 64, who lives part of the year in Thailand with his 41-year-old partner, has denied the allegations. - AFP

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