An employee who was fired from Tesla's battery factory in Nevada has filed a whopper of a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In it, the former employee accuses Elon Musk's company of spying on employees' cellphones, and failing to act after discovering that a Mexican drug cartel may be dealing meth at the 'Gigafactory'.
Tesla is accused of installing specialized router devices at the Nevada Gigafactory to to capture employees' cellphone data and conversations.
A former member of Tesla’s internal investigations team, Karl Hansen, filed a tips, complaints and referrals form to the SEC about the Gigafactory on Aug. 9, Hansen’s attorney Stuart Meissner said in a news release. Whistleblowers can receive 10 percent to 30 percent of penalties the SEC collects.
Tesla said it took the allegations that Hansen brought to the electric car maker seriously and investigated.
“Some of his claims are outright false. Others could not be corroborated,” Tesla said in the statement.
The SEC declined comment.
The complaint sent to the SEC comes amid intense focus on the company and Chief Executive Elon Musk, whose tweets about taking the company private last week set off a scramble to determine whether he violated securities law in stating that funding for the deal was “secured.”
Hansen alleged that Tesla, at the direction of Musk, installed surveillance equipment at the Gigafactory outside Reno, Nevada to eavesdrop on the personal cellphones of employees while at work, according to Meissner.
Hansen also claims that Tesla did not disclose to investors that thieves stole $37 million in copper and other raw materials during the first half of 2018, according to his attorney.
Hansen alleges Tesla failed to disclose that it received written notice from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration about a Tesla employee possibly engaged in selling cocaine and crystal methamphetamine from the Nevada factory on behalf of a Mexican drug cartel, according to Meissner who did not release the whistleblower filing he said his client made to the SEC. Reuters could not reach Hansen for comment.
Hansen alleges that he found ties between the Tesla employee and members of the cartel and urged Tesla to disclose that information to the DEA, his attorney said in the news release.
The DEA did not immediately have a comment.