SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Tesla Inc. (TSLA.O) has not received a US subpoena on production forecasts for Model 3, said the electric car maker on Friday after reporting that he had been subjected to an in-depth criminal investigation of the projections.
The company has worked to answer a "voluntary request" for Justice Department documents in September, a Tesla spokesman said. The agency has the opportunity to file a complaint.
"We did not receive a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal procedure, and there are no additional document inquiries from the Department of Justice," the spokesperson said in an e-mail.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining whether Tesla has misinformed information on the production of its Model 3 sedans and misled investors into returning its business by early 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported citing sources.
In recent weeks, agents from the FBI have contacted former Tesla employees to seek criminal testimony, according to the report. The former employees received subpoenas earlier in the investigation, and the FBI agents have recently tried to interrogate some of them, sources said.
Any focus on Tesla's earlier statements about the production targets of Model 3 would broaden the agency's investigation, which, according to Tesla, reviewed statements by chief executive Elon Musk last month regarding a later canceled go-private deal.
Tesla first revealed in September that the DoJ was examining Musk's tweets about "financing" an agreement with Tesla. He said the agency had asked for documents about such statements.
Each extension of the FBI probe occurs as Musk is under pressure to produce the Model 3 at a profit. The company posted a profit and positive cash flow on Wednesday, which bolstered Musk's commitments from last year as the company increased the volume of its new sedan.
MODEL 3 CHALLENGES
Tesla and Musk are already facing a class action lawsuit alleging that the company and its top executives made false statements about the model 3's readiness for mass production.
The car the money-losing company is relying on to make a profit was presented to the public in early 2016 with a lot of publicity, and in the course of 2017 it was repeatedly promised that Tesla would build 5,000 "Model 3s" a week from the bank End of this year at his factory in Fremont, California.
According to the complaint, such statements were fraudulent because the automated assembly lines for the construction of the vehicle were behind schedule to such an extent.
Tesla denied the allegations in the lawsuit, stating that production bottlenecks became known after they were identified, and citing Musk's public statements that the company was in a "production hell" in 2017.
Tesla had just reached the goal in June to build 5000 model 3s a week, although the current production has lagged behind.
Musk and Tesla have recently reached agreement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on the tweets of Musk on August 7. The SEC sued him for fraud and described his allegations as "false and misleading" before reaching an agreement.
Both Tesla and Musk must pay a fine of $ 20 million, and Musk must resign as Chairman for three years as the company appoints an independent chairman.
Tesla's shares rose $ 4.5 to $ 329, which rallied after Wednesday's bullish results.
Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Arrangement by Shounak Dasgupta, Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Richard Chang