A Tesla Inc. plan to purchase hard-to-get construction materials is being investigated by US prosecutors, who are looking at whether the project was an appropriate use of company funds.
(Bloomberg) — A Tesla Inc. plan to purchase hard-to-get construction materials is being investigated by US prosecutors, who are looking at whether the project was an appropriate use of company funds.
The US Attorney’s Office in New York has sent subpoenas to a number of current and former employees at the EV-maker in recent weeks seeking information related to the materials, according to people familiar with the probe. The requests for information focus on correspondence with Omead Afshar, a key lieutenant to Elon Musk and the individual at the center of an internal Tesla probe into the issue, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
Prosecutors are reviewing a 2022 purchase order for construction material which was identified as suspicious by company officials. The order, for a special kind of glass, was flagged to Tesla’s finance and internal audit groups earlier last year.
Read more: Musk Lieutenant Scrutinized Over Internal Tesla Purchasing Probe
Musk and representatives for Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The US Attorney’s Office in New York declined to comment.
Afshar, who Bloomberg reported later took on a role at Musk’s SpaceX, couldn’t be reached to comment.
Requests for information from US prosecutors don’t necessarily mean that criminal or civil proceedings will be filed as law enforcement agencies often open inquiries that don’t lead to actions.
The Wall Street Journal, which reported the probe earlier, said the US Securities and Exchange Commission was also looking into the issue. The SEC declined to comment.
Some of the people who have received the subpoenas have been asked to testify in a New York court next month.
The requests also ask for correspondence to and from Musk, one of the people said. Musk was not directly involved in the procurement order, the person said.
Prosecutors also sought correspondence related to Soufiane Halily, a former director at Tesla for factory engineering, construction and program management at the Austin, Texas, plant, according to one of the people.
(Adds more details on the probe starting in the fifth paragraph.)
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