Ex-Tesla employee alleges Elon Musk authorized spying on workers in bombshell SEC tip
- Another former Tesla employee has filed a whistleblowing tip with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- The tip alleges that Tesla did not disclose to shareholders the theft of raw materials and unauthorized surveillance and hacking of employee devices and that the company did not tell federal authorities about information it received from former employee Karl Hansen about alleged drug trafficking at the company's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada.
- Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
- The SEC and DEA declined requests for comment.
Another former Tesla employee has filed a whistleblowing tip with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a statement from his attorney.
Karl Hansen used to work in Tesla's internal security department and the company's investigations division, according to the statement. Meissner Associates, the law firm representing Hansen, filed the tip on his behalf on August 9, the statement said.
The tip alleges that Tesla did not disclose to shareholders the theft of raw materials and unauthorized surveillance and hacking of employee devices, according to the statement. The statement also alleges Tesla did not tell federal authorities about information it received from Hansen about alleged drug trafficking at the company's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada.
"I never expected that my employment with such a major public company would lead to uncovering such issues, and am disturbed by Tesla's highly unusual response to those like me who investigated them," Hansen said in the statement. "I am also very disturbed by Tesla's failure to respect the privacy of its own employees. In my opinion, Tesla's actions have placed investors, the public, and Tesla employees at risk."
Hansen alleges that Tesla monitored and collected information and communications from employees' cell phones, including from Martin Tripp, another former Tesla employee who filed a whistleblowing tip with the SEC in July. Hansen was allegedly told that Tesla CEO Elon Musk authorized the surveillance of employee devices.
Meissner Associates is also representing Tripp.
Hansen claims Tesla told him not to disclose or investigate other sensitive matters, according to the statement, including the alleged theft of over $37 million of copper and other raw materials from the Gigafactory between January and June and the alleged involvement of Tesla employees with a Mexican drug cartel. Hansen claims in the statement that he was fired on July 16 after he raised concerns about the alleged misconduct.
Like Hansen, Tripp alleges that Tesla did not address his concerns about the company's conduct. Tripp told Business Insider that Tesla used batteries with puncture holes in vehicles meant for consumers, among other claims, and, in his tip with the SEC claims the company overreported production of its Model 3 sedan by up to 44%, according to The Washington Post.
In June, Tesla filed a lawsuit against Tripp, alleging that he hacked confidential company information and gave it to parties outside the company. Tripp filed a countersuit in August denying Tesla's allegations and accusing the company of defamation.On Wednesday, Tripp published on Twitter photos that he claimed supported the allegations he has made. As of Thursday afternoon, Tripp's Twitter account had been removed from the site.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has attracted controversy in recent weeks over his statements about wanting to take Tesla private, with many raising questions about the certainty of funding Musk referenced in a tweet and where exactly that funding will come from.
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