The Justice Department is probing perks that Elon Musk received from Tesla dating to 2017, further than previously understood, as part of a criminal investigation.
That the Tesla resources may have been used on secret plans to build a glass mansion for the CEO is one of the claims the DOJ is investigating.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has also sought information about transactions between Tesla and other entities connected to Musk, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The broadened timeline and scope of the probe suggest federal prosecutors have a broader interest in Musk and the electric car company than was previously known.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has also opened a civil investigation into the construction project and is seeking similar information from the company, officials said.
Dubbed ‘Project 42’ and described inside the company as a mansion for Musk, the plans involved a dramatic glass-walled building near Tesla’s gigafactory in Austin, the Journal previously reported.
Following an order for millions of dollars worth of specialized glass, Tesla board members quietly investigated whether company resources had been misused for the project, and whether Musk himself had a role.
Musk wrote on his social media platform X, formally Twitter, earlier this month that ‘there is no glass house (metaphors don’t count lol) built, under construction or planned! I’m not building any house of any kind anywhere. Period.’
According to a recently released authorized biography of the tech billionaire, Musk last year explored building a home for himself on a horse farm across the Colorado River from the Texas factory.
He even reportedly met with an architect to brainstorm designs ‘but put off building it,’ Walter Isaacson wrote.
Musk suggested the design could incorporate a shard of glass emerging from a lake, the book stated.
An SEC spokesperson previously told DailMail.com: ‘The SEC does not comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation.’
SEC rules require public companies to disclose any perks or other personal benefits worth more than $10,000 paid to the top officers, including the CEO.
The regulatory agency has recently brought a number of civil enforcement actions against publicly traded companies for failing to disclose executive perks, including Hilton Worldwide and Stanley Black & Decker.
The SEC also requires public companies to tell investors about any transactions above $120,000 in which a related party, such as an executive officer, has a material interest.
At Tesla, information about the purported glass mansion has dribbled out intermittently for more than a year.
Plans evolved over time, but at least some of the renderings reportedly seemed to show a residential area with bedrooms, bathrooms and a kitchen, the Journal reported last year.
One rendering depicted the building as a glass cube similar to the Apple Store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, while another showed it as a ‘twisted hexagon’ next to a body of water with the Tesla factory in the background, the report said.
Other renderings depicted a waterfall as part of the landscaping, and some Tesla employees speculated the project could include some kind of a museum.
The building in question has not been constructed, and Tesla insiders said they were uncertain of the project’s status or the outcome of the board investigation.