New Tesla Complaint Alleges Employee Drug Trafficking and Theft at Gigafactory
A second man represented by the same attorney is filing a SEC complaint against the automaker.
Tesla is facing major scrutiny as of late; everything the company is doing is under a fine microscope. Between CEO Elon Musk's Tweets focusing on taking the company private and a self-proclaimed "whistleblower" posting photos of the factory floor to allege wasteful spending and defective batteries, the company's financial tracing has been a rollercoaster in the past two weeks alone. On Thursday, CNBC reports that another man is planning to file a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging a former employee may have been trafficking drugs through the automaker's Nevada Gigafactory.
Karl Hansen is a former security employee of Tesla and is the second person to come forward against Tesla to the SEC to allege wrongdoings. Hassen is represented by Stuart Meissner, the same attorney utilized by former Tesla technician Martin Tripp who launched his own complaint against Tesla only weeks prior to Hassen.
In the statement from Meissner's firm, Hansen states that Tesla failed to disclose that it had received notification from both the local Storey County Sheriff's Office, as well as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration regarding one of its employees. The written notice was presented to Tesla in mid-June and corroborated by an internal investigation performed by Hansen, stating that a Tesla employee may have been participating in a cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking ring that took place at the Gigafactory. Hansen stated that he asked Tesla to move forward by reporting it to the DEA, however, Tesla refused and would hire "outside vendors" to investigate the matter further.
Additionally, Hansen claims that Tesla failed to disclose that $37 million in copper and other materials were stolen from the Gigafactory during the first half of 2018. He says that by pressing the issues internally, Tesla retaliated by relieving him of his employment. The complaint reads that Hansen was specifically informed not to reach out to law enforcement and to discontinue his internal investigation of the issue. Another employee who reported the thefts was also allegedly fired for not being a “Tesla team player".
Tesla rejects these claims and states that it had attempted to seek further information several times, however, Hansen reportedly refused to engage with the company.
"Mr. Hansen's allegations were taken very seriously when he brought them forward," said a Tesla spokesperson in an email to The Drive regarding the matter, "Some of his claims are outright false. Others could not be corroborated, so we suggested additional investigative steps to try and validate the information he had received second-hand from a single anonymous source. Because we wanted to be sure we got this right, we made numerous attempts to engage further with Mr. Hansen to understand more about what he was claiming and the work that he did in reaching his conclusions. He rejected each of those attempts, and to date has refused to speak with the company further. It seems strange that Mr. Hansen would claim that he is concerned about something happening within the company, but then refuse to engage with the company to discuss the information that he believes he has."
Tesla's stock has fallen nearly 10 percent since following the initial press release by Meissner's firm on Thursday.