The US Securities and Change Fee (SEC) is trying right into a declare that Tesla didn’t appropriately inform its shareholders and the general public about potential hearth dangers that its photo voltaic panel techniques might pose, in line with a report by Reuters.

This comes after Steven Henkes, a former discipline high quality supervisor at Tesla, filed a whistleblower grievance towards the corporate in 2019. The SEC probe was made public following Henkes’ request for details about his report, by way of the Freedom of Data Act (FOIA). Reuters obtained a duplicate of the SEC’s response to Henkes, dated September twenty fourth, that declined his request however acknowledged: “We have confirmed with Division of Enforcement staff that the investigation from which you seek records is still active and ongoing.” As confirmed by Reuters, an SEC official additionally famous that the letter doesn’t suggest that there was any authorized wrongdoing.

Henkes claims that Tesla and SolarCity, which Tesla acquired in 2016, didn’t warn prospects and shareholders in regards to the hearth dangers related to the photo voltaic panel techniques’ faulty electrical connectors. The grievance alleges that Tesla misled prospects by telling them the corporate merely needed to conduct upkeep on the techniques, moderately than informing them in regards to the potential hearth dangers.

Henkes says he instructed Tesla administration that the corporate ought to shut down the faulty techniques, notify prospects, and inform the correct authorities. Tesla fired the previous discipline high quality supervisor in 2020, and he believes the transfer was completed in retaliation. Henkes has since filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in response.

Issues of safety related to Tesla’s photo voltaic panels arose in 2019 when Walmart sued Tesla, blaming the corporate’s photo voltaic panels for beginning fires in a number of Walmart shops. The retail big claimed that the photo voltaic panels had been faulty — a few of which had been allegedly put in by SolarCity previous to its acquisition — and that Tesla didn’t floor the techniques correctly. Nevertheless, Walmart dropped the lawsuit later that yr, saying that the 2 corporations had come to an settlement.

“The SEC does not comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation,” an SEC spokesperson instructed The Verge.


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