Tesla is under investigation by the US Justice Department over public statements made by CEO Elon Musk, according to sources cited by Bloomberg. The criminal probe is running alongside a civil inquiry by securities regulators.
Prosecutors opened a fraud investigation after Musk said last month he was thinking of taking Tesla private and that he had secured funding for the deal. His tweet initially boosted the company’s shares.
“Last month, following Elon’s announcement that he was considering taking the company private, Tesla received a voluntary request for documents from the DOJ and has been cooperative in responding to it,” the company said in a statement released Tuesday following Bloomberg’s report of the investigation. “We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process. We respect the DOJ’s desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received.”
The criminal probe is in its early stages, and it may be months before prosecutors decide whether to bring charges or drop the case altogether.