Elon Musk accuses employee of ‘sabotage’ at Tesla

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Amsterdam, Netherlands - February 24, 2017: Black Tesla model S

Elon Musk has accused an employee at Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) of carrying out “extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations.”

In the memo obtained by CNBC, the chief executive said an unnamed employee had been making unspecified coding changes to the manufacturing operating system and sent sensitive data to third parties.

“The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has admitted so far is pretty bad,” wrote Musk in the memo.

“His stated motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive. As you know there are a long list of organisations that want Tesla to die,” he added.

“We need to figure out if he was acting alone or with others at Tesla and if he was working with any outside organizations.”

In a separate email, Musk alerted workers at Tesla to a small fire at on Sunday at a Tesla factory. Production was stopped for a few hours but nobody was present.

The company said the fire was an “extraordinarily unusual occurrence”.

The 15-year old carmaker has not made an annual profit since its creation. Last week, Musk announced plans to axe nine percent of the group’s workforce. 

“Given that Tesla has never made an annual profit in the almost 15 years since we have existed, profit is obviously not what motivates us,” he wrote in an email to employees. 

“What drives us is our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable, clean energy, but we will never achieve that mission unless we can eventually demonstrate that we can be sustainably profitable.”

Musk added that the decision to cut employee numbers had been a “difficult decision”.