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Tesla confirms DoJ request for Autopilot documents in criminal investigation

Tesla's Autopilot system has been under a lot of scrutiny lately following reports of an unusual number of crashes involving Tesla vehicles and the possibility that the company misled investors and consumers about the efficacy of Autopilot. Tesla has now confirmed that it has indeed been asked for documentation related to Autopilot in an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ).

A Tesla Model 3

Regulatory filings spotted by The Wall Street Journal confirm that Tesla is under a criminal investigation led by the U.S. DoJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the filing, Tesla says that:

To our knowledge no government agency in any ongoing investigation has concluded that any wrongdoing occurred.

[...] Should the government decide to pursue an enforcement action, there exists the possibility of a material adverse impact on our business, results of operation, prospects, cash flows and financial position.

The ongoing investigation reportedly involves authorities from Washington and San Francisco. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been probing Tesla for quite some time while the California Department of Motor Vehicles has also previously accused the company of falsely advertising its cars as autonomous.

Tesla is currently facing a lot of challenges. While it has commenced the rollout of a beta version of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) system in North Ameria, it has missed its delivery target for 2022 and been fined $2.2 million in South Korea for falsely advertising the driving range, charging speed, and estimated fuel savings of its electric cars. The firm is expected to announce layoffs soon as well.

Source: SEC filing via WSJ (paywall)

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