Tesla is facing a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over CEO Elon Musk’s haphazard tweets about his desire to take the company private, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Citing two unnamed sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg said that federal prosecutors opened a fraud investigation after Musk tweeted last month that he had the “funding secured” to take Tesla private. The latest probe follows a civil investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, along with several securities fraud lawsuits filed by investors.
Musk has taken heat as of late for the take-private bid, after it became almost immediately clear that he didn’t have funding lined up for the deal. News of a criminal probe is sure to rankle some skittish investors about his actions in recent weeks.
A Tesla spokesperson confirmed the automaker has responded to inquiries from the DOJ over Elon’s tweet.
“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 spokesperson told Jalopnik by email. “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.”
A message was left seeking comment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.