U.S. SEC subpoenas Tesla over its Model 3 production forecasts

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sent a subpoena to Tesla according to a recent filing by the car manufacturer about Model 3 production figures that were previously reported, despite previous denials. Tesla said that it had received several subpoenas from the SEC in relation to Elon Musk’s statement about taking Tesla private, and over projections that were made regarding Model 3 production rates in 2017. The issue over Musk’s statement was resolved in September but the subpoena pertaining to production hasn’t progressed, according to Tesla.

In a filing with the SEC, Tesla wrote:

Aside from the settlement with the SEC relating to Mr. Musk’s statement that he was considering taking Tesla private, there have not been any developments in these matters that we deem to be material, and to our knowledge no government agency in any ongoing investigation has concluded that any wrongdoing occurred. As is our normal practice, we have been cooperating and will continue to cooperate with government authorities.

Going forward, Tesla will only be in trouble with the SEC if it’s found that the firm purposefully inflated projections that it reported in early 2017. If the SEC decides that the figures were based on facts that Tesla had at the time and that things simply slipped then the SEC is unlikely to take further action. It’s not clear what enforcement the SEC would levy against Tesla but in a previous agreement, Musk stood down as Tesla chairman and agreed to pay a $20 million fine.

In its filing, Tesla also stated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had requested information about Musk's statements about going private and the Model 3 production projections, which Tesla voluntarily handed over. The car maker said that the DOJ is still investigating.

Last October, Neowin reported on the bottleneck at Tesla’s Gigafactory which was seen as a major reason for the hold up in production. It was found that issues around the batteries were causing the hold-up and Panasonic, Tesla’s battery partner at the factory, acknowledged the issue. Given this piece of information, it could be the case that Tesla didn’t inflate their projections but ran into unforeseen issues that were ultimately caused by Panasonic.

Source: SEC via Reuters

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