The Justice Department has reportedly expanded an investigation into Tesla CEO Elon Musk to determine whether the company failed to disclose personal benefits that were extended to him, including purported plans to use company funds to build the billionaire a custom-made glass house.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have broadened the criminal probe to see whether charges could be brought against Musk or Tesla for perks that the world’s richest man may have obtained since 2017, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Last month, The Journal reported that prosecutors from the Southern District of New York were looking into a secret project that Tesla insiders described as a home for Musk near Tesla’s Austin, Texas-area plant and headquarters.
The initiative — known to Tesla employees as “Project 42” — entailed a glass-walled, lakefront structure in the shape of a twisted hexagon near the banks of the Colorado River, and was the subject of an inquiry launched by members of the company’s board, according to The Journal.
The results of the board’s probe were never revealed.
Musk on Wednesday took to his social media platform, X, to denounce the Justice Department, writing: “This would be next-level absurd. I’m not building a house of any kind anywhere.”
The Post has sought comment from Musk, Tesla, and the Justice Department.
In 2021, Musk revealed in a tweet that he is living in a 375-square-foot modular home that he rents for $50,000 from SpaceX on its launch site in Boca Chica, Texas. He had spent the previous year selling off much of his real estate portfolio.
Earlier this year, Tesla employees reportedly expressed concern about millions of dollars worth of specialized glass that were ordered using company funds, according to The Journal.
Board members reportedly investigated the extent to which Musk was involved in the project and whether company resources had been misused, The Journal reported earlier this summer.
In July, Bloomberg News reported that Tesla fired several employees and was expected to push out one of Musk’s top lieutenants, Omead Afshar, who was in charge of running the Giga Texas factory.
The dismissals were the subject of an internal probe into a suspicious order involving hard-to-get construction material — a special type of glass, though the purpose for it was unknown, according to Bloomberg News.
Tesla is also under scrutiny by federal prosecutors and investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission who are looking into whether the electric car maker misled investors and consumers over the performance of Autopilot, its advanced driver-assistance system.
News of the federal probe surrounding Tesla’s Autopilot program was first revealed last fall by The Journal.
According to Walter Isaacson’s newly released biography titled “Elon Musk,” the Tesla mogul “started dreaming” about building a home on the grounds of a horse farm that he recently bought just across the Colorado River.
Isaacson reported that Musk, who had sold all of his real estate holdings in Los Angeles before moving the company headquarters to Texas, hired the famed British architect Lord Norman Foster.
Foster, who designed Apple’s futuristic, circle-shaped headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., was brought in to help conceive a plan for the property.
“It should be like something fell out of space, like a structure from another galaxy landed in the lake,” Musk is said to have told Foster.
Musk proposed having a shard of glass protruding from the lake, according to Isaacson’s book.
The bottom floor of the home would be partly submerged in the water, “accessible by a tunnel from another structure on the shore,” Isaacson wrote.
When Isaacson told Musk that “it did not actually seem like a family home,” the mogul replied: “It’s more an art project than a house.”
According to the author, Musk put off building it.