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Prosecutors Probe Records, Dating Back to 2017, to See if Tesla Extended Perks to Elon Musk

Curated By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar

Last Updated: September 20, 2023, 17:18 IST

Washington D.C., United States of America (USA)

SEC and federal prosecutors investigate perks Musk received from Tesla, Autopilot tech and Project 42. (Image: Reuters/Representative)

The US federal prosecutors scrutinize if there were any personal benefits from Tesla to Elon Musk, “Project 42” and mention grand jury involvement.

The US federal prosecutors looking at personal benefits Tesla, SpaceX and X CEO Elon Musk may have received from Tesla since 2017. This is part of a criminal probe to examine issues which also include a proposed house for the billionaire, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York also sought information related to the transactions between Tesla and other entities connected to Elon Musk and the prosecutors have mentioned the involvement of a grand jury, the Wall Street Journal report said.

The report said that the federal prosecutors have a large interest in Elon Musk and Tesla and pursuing potential criminal charges. A separate report by the news outlet in August said the justice department is probing if resources of the electric carmaker were used in a secret project, which was internally known as a house for Elon Musk.

Known as “Project 42” within Tesla, it is a plan to build a large glass building near Tesla’s Austin-area factory and headquarters, which will be Elon Musk’s home.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched a separate civil probe into the project.

Musk took to social media site X and said that there is no glass house being built and there are no such plans. He did, however, plan to build a home for himself in 2022 on a horse farm across the Colorado River from the factory known as Giga Texas, according to the report. In his biography, written by Walter Isaacson, it is mentioned that the billionaire suggested that his home look like a shard of glass emerging from a lake.

Prosecutors are finding out if Tesla disclosed perks Musk received from the company. Tesla has maintained that the carmaker does not provide perks or other personal benefits to its top executives.

Meanwhile federal prosecutors are also seeking information on the driving range of Tesla’s electric vehicles, the news outlet reported in August. The probe focuses on whether Tesla misled consumers and investors about the performance of Autopilot – the carmaker’s advanced driver-assistance system.

Tesla’s lawyers and board members renewed focus on the project after the carmaker’s employees raised concerns about million-dollar large-format glass panels the company had ordered

Not just Tesla but several other companies have received questions from the US justice department and the SEC about what perks executives receive.

If the total value of personal benefits provided to top executives, which can be reimbursement for private security, housing allowances or use of airplanes, crosses $10,000 or more, public companies have to disclose that to the SEC.

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