Tesla is facing a criminal probe from the Justice Department concerning Elon Musk’s tweets about taking the electric automaker private.
Musk’s infamous tweet that he had secured the funding to take Tesla private sent the carmaker’s shares soaring. Almost immediately, the Securities and Exchange Commission sought information from the automaker about its plans.
Although the new criminal inquiry is only in its early stages, Tesla confirmed that it had been contacted by the Justice Department. News of the investigation dropped its shares by almost 5 per cent.
“Last month, following Elon’s announcement that he was considering taking the company private, Tesla received a voluntary request for documents from the DOJ and has been cooperative in responding to it,” Tesla said in a response to Bloomberg News reporting about the DOJ investigation.
“We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process. We respect the DOJ’s desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received.”
On August 7, Elon Musk tweeted that funding had been secured to take Tesla private at $420 per share. As it turns out, this wasn’t the case and Musk had based his statement on conversations he had previously had with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The fund soon denied that it would help take Tesla private – and those tweets might have had something to do with this.
Apart from the Justice Department, Tesla is also under scrutiny by the SEC despite Musk having rescinded his original announcement and announcing that Tesla would remain public.