Tesla Reveals DOJ Subpoenas On EV Range, Features, Personal Benefits

Luxury electric car maker Tesla Inc. has received multiple subpoenas from the U.S. Department of Justice mainly seeking information regarding its electric vehicles and certain personal benefits, as revealed in its third-quarter filing with the U.S. Securities And Exchange Commission.

The company noted that subpoenas from the DOJ included requests for documents related to Tesla’s driver assistance systems, Autopilot, and Full Self-Driving or FSD features. The agency also requested certain matters associated with personal benefits, related parties, vehicle range, and personnel decisions.

In addition, there were requests for information from other regulators and governmental authorities as well, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the SEC, and various local, state, federal, and international agencies.

However, no government agency in any ongoing investigation has concluded that any wrongdoing occurred, the firm noted.

Tesla further reported about a data breach during the second quarter, in which a foreign news outlet claimed to have obtained certain misappropriated data including, purportedly, among other things, non-public Tesla business and personal information.

In May this year, German news outlet Handelsblatt had reported on 100 GB of leaked Tesla files including thousands of customer complaints regarding Tesla’s driver assistance features.

The company now said it has made notifications to potentially affected individuals, such as current and former employees, and regulatory authorities regarding the issue.

On August 5, a putative class action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of all U.S. individuals impacted by the data incident, followed by several additional lawsuits.

In its filing, Tesla said, “We cannot predict the outcome or impact of any ongoing matters. Should the government decide to pursue an enforcement action, there exists the possibility of a material adverse impact on our business, results of operation, prospects, cash flows, financial position, or brand.”

Tesla’s stock had plunged significantly last week after the automaker reported weak earnings in its third quarter, and its CEO Elon Musk issued a pessimistic view of the company’s operations.

Tesla shares gained slightly on Monday’s trading, and the stock is now gaining around 1.5 percent in pre-market activity on the Nasdaq. The company’s market capital now stands at $673.14 billion.

In August, the Wall Street Journal had reported that federal prosecutors were probing whether the company used its funds to design and build a glass house project for Musk.

Earlier, the SEC had issued subpoenas to Tesla in connection with Musk’s prior statement that he was considering taking Tesla private. The take-private investigation was resolved and closed with a settlement entered into with the SEC in September 2018.

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