US prosecutors in Manhattan are conducting a criminal investigation into Tesla’s use of company funds and perks offered to CEO Elon Musk. The investigation is focused on whether Tesla properly disclosed any personal benefits Musk received in his role. One perk under scrutiny is a proposed glass house known as “Project 42”, which suggested an expansive glass building near Tesla’s Austin-based headquarters. Musk denied that the glass house was built, under construction, or planned. However, an authorized biography of Musk reveals that he had considered building a home on a horse farm near a Tesla factory in Austin last year. The purpose and construction details of “Project 42” were reportedly closely guarded secrets within Tesla.
The investigation is also examining the financial aspects of the project, including the order for millions of dollars’ worth of specialized glass panels. A separate civil investigation is underway as well. Federal regulations require companies to disclose personal benefits for executives exceeding $10,000, and transactions above $120,000 in which an executive has a material interest must also be reported.
In a separate development, Musk’s company SpaceX has sued the US government in response to allegations by the Department of Justice that SpaceX has refused to hire refugees and asylum seekers. SpaceX argues that while it has employed hundreds of non-US citizens, some of its projects have national security implications, and employing foreign workers could result in steep fines.
– Wall Street Journal