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Elon Musk is once again being put under the microscope.
The Tesla CEO is being investigated by the Department of Justice for perks he may have received from the company since 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. While the probe has previously been reported on, that timeline is much longer than initially known, and indicates that the DOJ is broadly interested in Musk’s and Tesla’s actions over the past few years. The WSJ also noted that it means potential criminal charges are on the table.
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Last month, it was revealed that Tesla had been working on a secretive “Project 42,” described within the company as a house for Musk, according to the WSJ. Plans detailed a glass structure that would be built by Tesla’s factory and headquarters near Austin, Texas. On X, formerly known as Twitter, Musk wrote that a glass house was not “built, under construction or planned.” He and his representatives did not respond to the newspaper’s requests for comment.
Beyond the house issue, prosecutors are trying to determine whether Tesla properly disclosed perks that Musk may have gotten from the company. Legally, the Securities and Exchange Commission requires public companies, of which Tesla is one, to share perks and other personal benefits received by executives if they’re worth $10,000 or more. Those sorts of benefits can include reimbursement for private security, airplane use, and housing allowances, the WSJ noted.
“Companies have been paying attention to the SEC’s enforcement efforts and tightening their controls in this area, which is likely resulting in changes to perks or increased disclosures,” Stephen L. Cohen, a lawyer who leads the regulatory and enforcement group at Sidley Austin, told the outlet. “I believe there is also a view at the SEC that the public cares about executive perks.”
Indeed, undisclosed perks have become a rather newsworthy topic over the past few months. Luxury trips and benefits given to Supreme Court justices like Clarence Thomas have been uncovered by journalists, and have led some to call for ethics reform within the U.S. government.
While Musk may not hold one of the highest seats in the land, he is the richest person in the world—but even that can’t shield him from scrutiny.