Tesla: filing a complaint for defects in solar panels – sciences et Avenir

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has opened an investigation into Tesla following a complaint by a whistleblower that the company failed to adequately educate its shareholders and the public for several years about the fire risks associated with failures in systems. solar panels, according to a letter from the US stock market broker.

First investigation opened by a financial market regulatory authority

The investigation increases pressure on the world’s most expensive automaker, which is already the subject of a federal investigation into accidents involving its driver assistance software. While the US giant has already been accused of setting fires, this is the first investigation opened by a financial market regulator. The SEC has revealed the existence of an investigation into Tesla in response to a request from Steven Henkes, a former quality manager of the group who had alerted in 2019 on the matter.

“We have confirmed with Law Enforcement Division staff that the investigation you are requesting documents from is still active and ongoing,” the SEC said in a Sept. 24 response to Steven Henkes, rejecting his request to provide the documents. documents in question. According to an SEC official, the agency should not take the letter as an indication that violations of the law have occurred. Reuters independently confirmed that the letter did come from the SEC.

Tesla is silent

Steven Henkes, also a former head of Toyota Motor’s quality division, was fired by Tesla in August 2020. He filed a lawsuit against Tesla alleging his firing was retaliation after he raised safety concerns. Tesla did not respond to questions posed by Reuters via email and the SEC declined to comment.

In the SEC proceedings, Steven Henkes said that Tesla and SolarCity, the company acquired by the automaker in 2016, did not disclose their “liability and exposure to property damage, risk of injury to user, fire, shareholders” before and after the acquisition. Tesla also failed to inform customers that faulty electrical connectors could cause fires, according to the documents.

The US group told consumers that the company should perform maintenance on the solar panel system to avoid a failure that could cause the system to shut down. It did not warn of fire risks, did not offer a temporary shutdown to mitigate the risk and did not report the issues to regulators, Henkes said. Shares of Tesla fell 5.5% to $ 960.25 on December 6 following this information from Reuters.

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