Former Tesla employee's tweets show allegedly flawed batteries

Joshua Lott  Getty Images

Joshua Lott Getty Images

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reportedly sent subpoenas to Tesla after CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he planned to take the business private.

When Elon Musk tweeted last week that funding for taking his EV company Tesla private had been secured, stock prices in Tesla ballooned; but it also had people wondering about the veracity of his claims.

Martin Tripp, the former Tesla employee who was sacked from Tesla, accused by Elon Musk of sabotage, sued by the company and turned whistleblower, has tweeted a number of photos that allegedly show damaged batteries and flawed practices at Tesla's battery factory. Since then questions have arisen about both the seriousness of the claim (one that Musk has stuck to despite evidence to the contrary) and whether Musk was intentionally trying to juice Tesla's stock (thus thwarting short sellers).

A Tesla spokesperson told Engadget that those claims aren't true at all and that it has never used punctured cells in any Model 3 vehicles. Subpoenas typically indicate the SEC has opened a formal investigation into a matter.

The latest news extended the roller-coaster ride for Tesla investors in recent days, adding to uncertainty about the future course of the company and whether a deal can be done amid growing regulatory complications.

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The "Saudi sovereign fund has more than enough capital needed to execute on such a transaction", he suggested. "Notably, there have been zero battery safety issues in any Model 3", the company spokesperson said.

Bloomberg cited lawyers as stating even before the new law passed on Monday a major investment in Tesla by Saudi Arabia would have drawn scrutiny.

More Money: Priced out of the market? However, Reuters says Mr Musk was still negotiating terms with Goldman on Tuesday.

Tesla's board has formed a special committee of three independent directors to evaluate any proposal from Musk or a rival bidder.

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