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Tesla Shares Fall Into Bear Market Territory After SEC Reportedly Opens Probe Into Solar Panel Defects

Mike Blake | Reuters
  • Reuters reported Monday that the SEC has opened an investigation into Tesla.
  • The report said the probe is in response to a whistleblower complaint alleging the company failed to properly notify its shareholders of solar panel defects.
  • News of the probe initially sent Tesla shares lower by as much as 6.4%.

Shares of Tesla reversed Monday's losses and ended the day mostly unchanged after Reuters reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into the company.

Reuters said the SEC launched the probe in response to a former Tesla employee's whistleblower complaint that alleged the company failed to properly notify its shareholders and the public of fire risks associated with its solar panel systems. The Reuters report cited communications between the agency and the whistleblower, Steven Henkes, dated Sept. 24.

The SEC declined to comment on whether it had opened an investigation into Tesla.

News of the SEC probe initially sent Tesla shares down as much as 6.4% on Monday. That was more than 20% off their recent 52-week high on Nov. 4, meaning they were in a bear market.

Henkes, who worked as a solar field quality manager for Tesla, filed a whistleblower complaint in 2019. He was fired in 2020 and sued Tesla, alleging he was dismissed in retaliation for raising safety concerns.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is also probing the automaker after Henkes filed a complaint with the agency, CNBC previously reported.

WATCH: Tesla CEO Elon Musk sells more shares to pay taxes

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