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First Solar Subpoenaed After Undisclosed SEC Probe Uncovered
Solar firm’s foreign business practices under scrutiny a year after DuDil confirmed active and ongoing SEC investigative activity.
November 2, 2023
First Solar (FSLR), a maker of photovoltaic (PV) thin film solar panels, has acknowledged the SEC is currently probing its international business practices. The company disclosed it received a subpoena from the SEC’s Division of Enforcement requesting documents and information since 2019 relating to the operations in India.
The subpoena was received September 29, 2023 and specifically requested information about First Solar’s:
“...entry into a PV module supply agreement with an India-based customer…”
The inquiry also involves the company’s technology roadmap and other items First Solar refused to detail in its latest quarterly filing.
In May 2022, DuDil confirmed the SEC’s Division of Enforcement is actively investigating First Solar, per an appeal of a FOIA request denial that sought, among other records, correspondence between the Commission and company related to its executive compensation and the calculation of performance metrics tied to executive bonuses.
At the time, First Solar adopted a new Executive Compensation Clawback policy— extending it to former officers— that allows it to recoup pay in the event of an accounting restatement due to officer misconduct.
This policy was adopted long before the SEC’s new clawback rules.
Two weeks after the new policy was disclosed, First Solar said the policy ensures executive bonuses are based on accurate financial results and correctly calculated.
First Solar did not respond when DuDil asked if the new clawback policy was in response to an imminent financial restatement or inaccurately calculated bonuses,
In 2020, First Solar paid $350 million to settle securities fraud litigation which alleged the company knowingly hid product defects and included false information on its financial statements.
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