Nikola Motor reveals it received subpoenas from DOJ, SEC

Nikola Motor Company, a manufacturer of electric and fuel cell trucks, announced in a regulatory filing Monday that it has received subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice in connection to fraud allegations leveled at the company by a short-seller.

Nikola’s founder, Trevor Milton, who resigned from the company in September amid the fraud allegations, also received grand jury subpoenas from the Department of Justice, according to Nikola’s most recent quarterly earnings statement. The subpoenas were received in September, according to Nikola. Nikola, which declined to comment for this story, has not provided additional detail about what the subpoenas pertain to.

Nikola said in the filing that it cooperated and will continue to cooperate with any regulatory or government requests.

Nikola founder Trevor Milton stepped down as Executive Chairman and a member of its board of directors in September after short-seller Hindenburg Research published a report that accused Milton and the startup of misleading investors. Milton said at the time that the report was a “hit job” and “lies.”

Nikola CEO Mark Russell said on the company’s earnings call on Monday that interest and need for its vehicles has never been higher.

“The number of jurisdictions that have outright bans, or fadeout or targets for getting rid of fossil fuel vehicles increases pretty much every time period,” he said.

Nikola also said on Monday that it is continuing construction on its Arizona manufacturing facility, and expects it to be completed toward the end of 2021.

A spokesman for Milton did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nikola went public in June through a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

GM announced in September that it would take an 11% stake in Nikola, and that the companies would team up to build Nikola’s pickup truck. But after the fraud allegations against Milton and Nikola surfaced, GM said that the deal with Nikola hadn’t yet closed. A GM spokesman said on Tuesday that discussions are continuing with Nikola.