SEC investigating Tesla over whistleblower’s solar-cell allegations

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into Tesla Inc. that touches on at least some degree on the company’s solar-cell activity.

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According to documents seen by The Wall Street Journal, the SEC accepted the investigation in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by a former Tesla employee who previously filed a complaint with the SEC. The man alleged in a 2019 complaint to the regulator that Tesla TSLA,
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And SolarCity, which acquired the solar-cell business, failed to properly inform shareholders and the public about the fire risks associated with its equipment, according to a document.

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The person, Steven Henkes, a former field quality manager at Tesla, asked for information related to his complaint in his records request. The SEC denied the request in a letter dated September 24, 2021, saying there is an “active and ongoing” investigation, one of the documents said.

The SEC declined to comment. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on the investigation previously reported by Reuters. It cannot be determined whether the probe remains open.

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An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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