Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk attends a forum on startups in Hong Kong, China January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo
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Tesla Inc. said the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating Chief Executive Elon Musk's public statements in August that he was considering taking the electric carmaker private, the most recent and somewhat biggest threat to Musk's leadership. The Justice Department asked Tesla for documents about Musk's announcement, Tesla said, describing it as a "voluntary request". Tesla did not say whether the Justice Department probe was criminal or civil.Tesla's stock, which has lost about 25 percent since its gains after Musk first tweeted about going private, further fell 3.5 percent to $284.50 Tuesday.Tesla's biggest institutional investor Baillie Gifford said last week it was questioned by the SEC about Musk's plans to take the electric carmaker private.For a civil enforcement action, the SEC would only need to show that Musk acted negligently, which is easier to prove, he said.
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