Uber’s former drone executive pleads guilty to stealing Google secrets and jails for up to 30 months

BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) — Anthony Levandowski, the former head of Uber’s self-driving division, agreed on Thursday to plead guilty to taking sensitive documents from his former employer, Google, before jumping from Uber. U.S. federal prosecutors charged Lewandowski with 33 charges, according to court documents. Lewandowski agreed to plead guilty to one of the charges in exchange for federal prosecutors dropping the other.

Uber's former drone executive pleads guilty to stealing Google secrets and jails for up to 30 months

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Levandowski admitted downloading Google’s unmanned car technology files to his laptop in January 2016, and his last visit was on February 24, 2016, about a month after leaving Google. As a sentencing reference, the documents range in value from $550,000 to $1.5 million.

Under the plea agreement, prosecutors can ask the court to sentence Levandowski to a maximum of 24 months to 30 months in prison. Levandowski also agreed to pay $756,000 for Google’s expenses incurred while cooperating with the crime investigation.

“Mr. Levandowski has taken responsibility and looks forward to resolving this matter. His attorney, Miles Ehrlich, said in a statement.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco has yet to comment.

Levandowski, who is known for his push for self-driving technology over the past decade, has sparked a dispute between Uber and Google and is one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent corporate disputes in recent years.

In March, Waymo, Google’s self-driving company, won a lawsuit against Uber, which ruled that Levandowski must pay Google $179 million.