December 1, 2023

Manhattan federal prosecutors are investigating Tesla’s use of firm funds on a secret undertaking that had been described internally as a home for Chief Government Elon Musk, individuals accustomed to the matter mentioned.

The U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace for the Southern District of New York has sought details about private advantages paid to Musk, how a lot Tesla spent on the undertaking—which known as for a spacious glass construction to be constructed within the Austin, Texas, space—and what it was for, the individuals mentioned.

The Wall Road Journal was the primary to report in July that Tesla board members had investigated whether or not firm sources have been misused on the key effort, recognized internally as “Venture 42,” and whether or not Musk was personally concerned. The end result of Tesla’s inner investigation couldn’t be realized.

A brand of Tesla is seen in the course of the World Synthetic Intelligence Convention (WAIC) in Shanghai on July 7, 2023.  ((Photograph by WANG ZHAO/AFP by way of Getty Pictures) / Getty Pictures)

The Securities and Alternate Fee has additionally opened a civil investigation into Venture 42 and is in search of comparable data from the corporate, one of many individuals mentioned.


The SDNY and SEC investigations are of their early levels and will not result in formal allegations of wrongdoing.

Tesla didn’t reply to requests for touch upon this story or the Journal’s earlier reporting about Venture 42. Spokesmen for the SEC and the Manhattan U.S. legal professional’s workplace declined to remark.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at AI Day

Tesla CEO Elon Musk seems at firm’s AI Day to reveal the “Optimus” robotic prototype, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Tesla by way of Reuters Video / Reuters Photographs)

Staff have been engaged on Venture 42 final yr, and plans known as for a spacious glass constructing to be erected close to the automaker’s Austin-area headquarters, the Journal reported. At one level, the constructing was envisioned within the form of a twisted hexagon. Different pictures confirmed an expansive glass field that appeared to incorporate a residential space.

Tesla attorneys and board members scrutinized the undertaking after workers grew to become involved about how the corporate deliberate to make use of thousands and thousands of {dollars} in specialised glass that it had ordered.

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The standing of the undertaking and whether or not the glass was ever delivered to Tesla couldn’t be realized.


Federal prosecutors even have sought details about the driving vary of Tesla’s electrical automobiles, individuals accustomed to the matter mentioned. Reuters reported in July that Tesla had inflated the projected distance its automobiles may journey on a single battery cost.

The Tesla Inc. logo

The Tesla Inc. brand is seen on the grille of a Mannequin X electrical automobile on the Moscow Tesla Membership in Moscow, Russia, on Friday, July 20, 2018. Tesla might practically double the variety of vehicles its promoting in Russia after a mobile-phone retailer backed by bil (Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg by way of Getty Pictures / Getty Pictures)

SEC guidelines require public corporations to reveal transactions above $120,000 through which a associated occasion, akin to an govt officer, has a cloth curiosity.

The rules additionally require that any perks or different private advantages value greater than $10,000 paid to the senior-most govt officers be disclosed to buyers. The SEC in recent times has introduced a collection of civil enforcement actions towards public corporations, together with Hilton Worldwide, over failure to report perks given to CEOs or different officers.

The Justice Division and SEC have additionally every opened an investigation into whether or not Tesla misled prospects and buyers concerning the efficiency of its superior driver-assistance system referred to as Autopilot.


Tesla and Musk have repeatedly clashed with the SEC since they every paid $20 million in 2018 to settle the company’s fraud lawsuit, which alleged the CEO misled buyers when he tweeted funding was in place to take the automaker personal.

Within the years since, Musk has tried to unravel the settlement, saying the SEC used the deal to proceed peppering Tesla with frivolous calls for for data. A federal choose final yr denied Musk’s request to vacate the settlement.