Authorities in the German state of Brandenburg have launched a case against Tesla over allegations it is handling hazardous materials without the right license at its electric car factory outside Berlin, a public prosecutor told POLITICO.
Confirming a report by public broadcaster RBB, Carla Mostertz, a prosecutor in Potsdam, said the case was based on a complaint by Brandenburg’s State Office for the Environment, which regulates Tesla’s sprawling complex.
“The object of the investigations is, among other things, to examine whether and, if so, who can be accused of criminal offenses,” said Mostertz.
While Mostertz said it was too early to disclose further details about the investigation, RBB reported that if found guilty those indicted could be subject to fines or up to three years in prison.
Tesla secured final approval for its gigafactory in March; company executives are considering a massive expansion that could double the factory’s capacity to 1 million vehicles a year alongside battery and material recycling facilities.
The project has been dogged by regulatory hurdles since the start, prompting the carmaker’s outspoken CEO Elon Musk to call for changes to Germany’s planning legislation.