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Dec. 6, 2021, 7:24 p.m. EST

SEC investigating Tesla over whistleblower’s solar-cell allegations

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Meghan Bobrowsky

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into Tesla Inc. that touches at least in part on the company’s solar-cell activity.

The SEC acknowledged the probe in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by a former Tesla employee who previously filed a complaint with the SEC, according to documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal. The person alleged in the complaint to the regulator back in 2019 that Tesla /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA -0.94% and SolarCity, the solar-cell business it acquired, failed to properly notify shareholders and the public of fire risks associated with its equipment, according to one of the documents.

The individual, a former field quality manager at Tesla named Steven Henkes, in his records request sought information relating to his complaint. The SEC denied the request in a letter dated Sept. 24, 2021, saying there is an “active and ongoing” investigation, one of the documents states.

The SEC declined to comment. Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment on the probe previously reported by Reuters. It couldn’t be determined if the investigation remains open.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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