GreenTech Automotive under SEC investigation for possible visa program abuse

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GreenTech Automotive–an electric car manufacturer that received a $5 million loan from Mississippi taxpayers in return for creating jobs Mississippi–is now under investigation for possible misuse of a foreign investor visa program.

 

Update 8/19/2013: In a Washington Post op-ed, former GreenTech Chairman Terry McAuliffe says he has no knowledge about the issues being investigated by the SEC:

“I’ve not been contacted in any way by those conducting the investigation and have no knowledge of it beyond what has been reported. From what has been reported, the investigation appears to be looking at a document allegedly prepared for potential investors — something I was not responsible for as chairman.”

GreenTech Automotive–an electric car manufacturer that received a $5 million loan from taxpayers in return for creating jobs in Mississippi–is now under investigation for possible misuse of a foreign investor visa program. The company, formerly led by Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, and its partner Gulf Coast Funds Management, headed by the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are now being investigated by the SEC.

“Documents posted on the website of Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa and the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, show that the SEC’s subpoena sought unspecified documents from GreenTech and banking records from Gulf Coast. The documents also indicate that GreenTech impermissibly guaranteed investors returns on their money.

‘The SEC is looking into the Regional Center (Gulf Coast) for possible security violations. SEC has issued subpoenas on the Regional Center’s bank records. The SEC also informed USCIS of a publicly posted (an) unsigned promissory note posted online which guarantees returns on the GreenTech Automotive investment,’ according to one official summary that found ‘fraud was possible but not fully verified.’

The documents include a 12-page letter from Grassley to Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services which oversees the EB-5 program, accusing Mayorkas of providing unusually preferential treatment to the politically connected McAuliffe and Rodham to expedite EB-5 applications from foreign investors.”

GreenTech was supposed to create 350 jobs and invest $60 million in Mississippi producing electric cars. In July 2012, McAuliffe’s company held a star-studded national press conference unveiling the MyCar–an electric car that will cost $18,000 and won’t go past 35 miles per hour–at its Horn Lake factory. Former Gov. Haley Barbour attended, and former President Bill Clinton gave the keynote.

Indeed, McAuliffe credits Barbour with attracting GreenTech to Mississippi: “[He] put the most aggressive package on the table for us… No one else’s offer was even close to Governor Barbour’s. …He’s been very aggressive in bringing in the carmakers, so now he’s saying, ‘Let’s try an electric.’ It’s a win-win for everybody.”

However, about a year after its grand opening, production at Horn Lake appears to be nonexistent.

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