News outlets are reporting that Federal agents executed search warrants Thursday morning at Solyndra’s headquarters in Fremont, CA. The San Jose Mercury News and Associated Press say that the search is a joint operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General.
FBI spokespeople would not comment on the purpose of the search or other details. The Mercury News reports that there are “indications” that the agents are interviewing some of the remaining 100 or so company employees who make up a transition team.
Solyndra communications manager Dave Miller told the Mercury News that the “search came as a surprise, but emphaszed the company is ‘fully cooperating’ with federal officials.” He said he did not know the purpose of the search, reportedly speculating that it might be related to the $535 million Federal loan guarantee received by the company.
The thin-film PV firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday, after announcing it was shutting down operations last week.
Bloomberg reported earlier this week that Solyndra’s CFO W.G. Stover told the bankruptcy court that the company “may have two bidders for a plant that was financed partly with loan guarantees from the U.S. government.” A large group from one bidder will come to Fremont next week, the story said.
The bankruptcy plan calls for the company to either sell its fab within four weeks or liquidate the specialized equipment used to manufacture its solar panels, the report noted.
DOE is concerned that the potential buyer may buy and move the equipment and technology out of the country, U.S. Justice Department attorney Matthew Troy said in court, according to Bloomberg. Under the terms of the loan, the “assets have to be used and operated in the U.S.,” the DOJ attorney added.