The company has cooperated in responding to what it called a “voluntary request” for documents from the Department of Justice in September, a Tesla spokesperson said. The agency has the ability to press criminal charges.
“We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process, and there have been no additional document requests about this from the Department of Justice for months,” the spokesperson said in an email.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining whether Tesla misstated information about the production of its Model 3 sedans and misled investors about its business going back to early 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.
In recent weeks, FBI agents have contacted former Tesla employees to seek testimony in the criminal case, according to the report. The ex-employees received subpoenas earlier in the probe, and FBI agents recently have sought to interview a number of them, the sources said.
Any focus on Tesla’s past statements about Model 3 production targets would broaden the probe by the agency, which Tesla said last month was looking at statements made by Chief Executive Elon Musk about a go-private deal that was later called off.
Tesla first disclosed in September that the DoJ was investigating Musk’s tweets about having “funding secured” for a deal to take Tesla private, saying the agency had asked for documents about such statements.
Any expansion of the FBI’s probe comes as Musk faces pressure to deliver consistent production of the Model 3 at a profit. The company on Wednesday posted a profit and positive cash flow, making good on pledges made by Musk earlier this year, as the company ramps up volume of its new sedan.
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