A former Tesla employee has claimed the company spies on its workers and allowed a drug cartel to operate inside of its plant.
Karl Hansen made the whistleblower complaint to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to his lawyer Stuart Meissner.
Mr Hansen was a member of Tesla’s internal investigations team before he was fired.
Under US law, whistleblowers can receive up to 30% of the penalties collected by the SEC for revealing regulatory breaches.
Tesla stated that it took Mr Hansen’s allegations seriously and investigated them.
It added: “Some of his claims are outright false. Others could not be corroborated.”
The SEC has declined to comment.
Mr Hansen’s complaint comes as the company’s chief executive Elon Musk is being scrutinised for a series of tweets he made last week about taking the publicly listed company into private ownership.
Mr Musk’s surprising announcement that he had “secured” funding to take Tesla private stunned investors and shaved 4% off of the company’s value.
Shareholders could either to sell at 420 or hold shares & go private
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
His tweets have prompted the regulator to issue the company with subpoenas as it investigates whether the tweets were illegally market-moving.
It is not clear if that investigation will be complemented by one into Mr Hansen’s complaint, which alleges that the company – on Mr Musk’s direction – surveilled its employees.
Mr Hansen’s allegation was that the company used sophisticated surveillance equipment at its Gigafactory outside Reno, Nevada, to snoop on employees’ personal phones.
He also claims that Tesla failed to inform investors that thieves stole $37m (£29m) in copper and other raw materials during the first half of 2018, said Mr Meissner.
Mr Hansen also claimed that Tesla had failed to disclose that it received written notice from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after he discovered ties between a Tesla employee and a Mexican drug cartel.
He alleges that he urged Tesla to disclose that information to the DEA, his lawyer said in the news release.
He claimed the DEA said a Tesla employee may have been selling cocaine and crystal methamphetamine inside of its Nevada factory on behalf of a Mexican drug cartel.
The claims were related to the press via Mr Meissner, who did not release the whistleblower filing that he said Mr Hansen made to the SEC.
Mr Hansen said he was fired on 16 July after raising the issues internally.
The DEA said it does not notify entities about its investigations: “Notifying associates of a target of an investigation would likely derail enforcement efforts or compromise the investigation altogether.”
From – SkyNews