Tesla's Musk alleges 'extensive' employee sabotage

Kimbal Musk

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk accused an employee of "extensive and damaging sabotage" to the company's operations in an email sent on Monday to company employees. CNBC posted what it said was a copy of the email in which Musk said the sabotage included the using of false usernames to make changes to the code used in the Tesla Manufacturing Operation System, as well as "exporting large amounts of highly sensitive Tesla data to unknown third parties". However, Tesla's stock price has rallied almost 17 percent since the company's June annual shareholder meeting where Musk promised profitability in the third quarter.

According to Musk's email, the unnamed employee claimed he had become disgruntled after failing to receive a promotion. He said Tesla will continue its investigation this week to determine if the employee was acting alone or "if he was working with any outside organizations".

"As you know, there are a long list of organisations that want Tesla to die", Mr Musk said. He named Wall Street short-sellers, oil and gas companies and other automakers.

Musk said in his tweet that the new line took a short time to build. In a "strange incident that was hard to explain", Mr Musk wrote that a small fire on a manufacturing line had stopped production for several hours. "Please be on the alert for anything that's not in the best interests of our company".

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Short-sellers have been betting against the electric auto manufacturer for months, and many saw the company's recent announcement that it plans to lay off 9 percent its 46,000-person workforce as a sign that Tesla needed cash.

The corporate sabotage report comes as Tesla is cranking up production of its Model 3 vehicle, of which the company has set a goal of making 5,000 a week by the end of June.

The outspoken serial entrepreneur and angel investor has promised that Tesla, now the most shorted US equity, will provide "the short burn of the century" as it ramps production of its first mass-market sedan.

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