DOJ Investigates ‘World’s Largest Green Energy Company’ As Bankruptcy Nears

(REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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SunEdison, which bills itself as the world’s largest green energy company, has disclosed in recent regulatory filings it’s under a Department of Justice investigation — a bad development for a company facing bankruptcy.

The company revealed in Securities and Exchange Commission filings it “received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) seeking information and documentation” related to its failed acquisition of the company Vivant Solar and allegations of misconduct of a former employee involved in the deal.

The DOJ also wants documentation regarding “the previously disclosed investigations by the Company’s audit committee, transactions with two subsidiaries” and “the financing of the Company’s Uruguay projects in connection with project costs and equity contributions.”

The SEC is also interested in SunEdison’s inner-workings and sent an informal request to the company asking for similar documentation on the failed Vivant Solar buy out. The DOJ and SEC inquiries come as the company faces possible bankruptcy after taking on too much debt.

A recent SEC filing from TerraForm Global, a unit of SunEdison, claims “due to SunEdison’s liquidity difficulties, there is a substantial risk that SunEdison will soon seek bankruptcy protection.”

The SEC is also looking into SunEdison’s financial disclosures to shareholders to see if the company “overstated its liquidity last fall when it told investors it had more than $1 billion in cash,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

SunEdison’s share prices have fallen more than 95 percent in the past 12 months and were trading at about 54 cents on Thursday. SunEdison’s market value fell from $10 billion in July 2015 to around $400 million today.

SunEdison builds “advanced solar technology and develops, finances, installs and operates distributed solar power systems,” according to the company’s website. The company has also gotten millions from U.S. taxpayers.

The pro-labor union group Good Jobs First reported last year that SunEdison and its subsidiaries got nearly $650 million in subsidies and tax credits from the federal government since 2000. It was the 13th most heavily-subsidized company in America.

This includes nearly $4.6 million in subsidies from the Department of Energy and Department of Treasury. reported in October 2015 that SunEdison had gotten nearly $4.6 million from the Obama administration, including funding to build semi-conductors.

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