DOJ's Tesla Probe Goes Beyond Alleged Glass House for Musk

Prosecutors are looking at other perks the CEO may have received dating back to 2017
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2023 6:34 AM CDT
DOJ's Tesla Probe Goes Beyond Alleged Glass House for Musk
Elon Musk, CEO of X, the company formerly known as Twitter, tightens his tie as he arrives for a closed-door gathering of leading tech CEOs at Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A Justice Department investigation exploring whether Tesla funds were used to build a proposed glass house for CEO Elon Musk is more wide-reaching than previously known and could result in criminal charges. Federal prosecutors in New York are not only investigating other potential personal benefits Tesla provided to the billionaire as far back as 2017, but also transactions between Tesla and other Musk companies, reports the Wall Street Journal. One example of such transactions: Last October, around the time Musk was acquiring what was then known as Twitter, he received a $1 billion loan from SpaceX, which he paid back with interest in November.

The Securities and Exchange Commission requires that public companies disclose transactions above $120,000 if an executive officer or other related party has a material interest. It also requires the disclosure of personal benefits (including reimbursement of housing, security, or airplane use) valued at $10,000 or more. Prosecutors have spoken of the involvement of a grand jury in their probe, indicating criminal charges could result. Meanwhile, Musk has denied that he built what is known as "Project 42," said to include a glass house for Musk across the Colorado River from the Tesla factory Giga Texas. Writing on X earlier this month, Musk said no glass house has been built, is "under construction or planned."

According to Walter Isaacson's biography of Musk published this month, Musk had suggested constructing a specialized glass structure on the lakefront property. "It should be like something fell out of space, like a structure from another galaxy landed in the lake," he reportedly said, per Tech Crunch. Plans viewed by the Journal showed a glass structure that included bedrooms, bathrooms, and a kitchen, per Forbes. Isaacson wrote that Musk "put off building it." According to the Journal's reporting, Tesla board members had raised concerns about the use of millions of dollars of large-format glass panels Tesla had ordered. Prosecutors are interested in how Tesla's resources were used for the project, which the SEC is investigating separately. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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