An employee fired from Tesla’s battery factory in Nevada has filed a whistleblower complaint with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, where he alleges that the company spied on employees and failed to act after learning that a Mexican cartel may have been dealing drugs inside the factory, according to the man’s attorney, Reuters reports.
Karl Hansen, a former member of Tesla’s internal investigations team, filed the SEC complaint on August 9. Whistleblowers can receive 10 to 30 percent of the penalties the SEC collects.
Tesla said it took the allegations seriously and investigated, but that “some of his claims are outright false” and “others could not be corroborated.” The SEC has not commented.
Hansen alleges that following instructions from CEO Elon Musk, Tesla installed surveillance equipment at the Gigafactory in Nevada in order to eavesdrop on the personal phones of employees, the lawyer said.
Another claim made by Hansen is that Tesla did not disclose to investors that thieves stole USD 37 million in copper and other raw materials in the first half of 2018. Furthermore, he claims Tesla did not disclose that it received a written notice from the US Drug Enforcement Administration about an employee possibly engaged in selling hard drugs from the factory on the behalf of a Mexican Drug cartel, although Hansen allegedly urged the company to cooperate with the DEA.
Hansen was subject to retaliation and fired on July 16 after raising the issues internally. He is the second Tesla employee to file a whistleblower complaint with the SEC. The first whistleblower, Martin Tripp, also a former Gigafactory worker, alleged that the company inflated the number of Model 3s it produced each week, that it used punctured batteries in its cars and that it reused scrapped parts without regard to safety. Tesla denied the claims.
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