President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardon Anthony Levandowski, former engineer at Google and Uber and self-driving car expert, who did sentenced to 18 months in prison in August 2020 for stealing trade secrets from Google.
Levandowski pioneered self-driving car technology at Google and made millions. He left the company to found Otto, a self-driving truck startup that he sold to the ride-hailing giant Uber in 2016 for an estimated $ 680 million. A year later, Google’s Waymo self-driving car unit sue Uber alleged that Levandowski took with him thousands of Google files, including secret product designs, with him before he left.
The companies finally settled when Uber offered Waymo for nearly $ 250 million in shares and agreed not to infringe the company’s intellectual property.
But in August 2019, federal prosecutors charged Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft. In March of last year, Levandowski pleaded guilty to trade secret theft and admitted having downloaded thousands of internal Google documents. into his personal computer. In addition to his 18-month sentence, he also has to pay a fine of $ 95,000 and $ 756,500 in compensation. A judge agreed to let Levandowski stay in prison until the end pandemic caused by the corona virus.
“Mr. Levandowski has paid a substantial price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to the advancement of the common good,” the White House said in a statement. declare on the last day of Trump’s presidency announced the same amnesty dozens of the other. The White House calls Levandowski “an American businessman who led Google’s efforts to create self-driving technology”.
Among those who support the amnesty are Silicon Valley billionaires Peter Thiel, a longtime Trump supporter and founder of Oculus Palmer Luckeywho once donated money to an alt-right-related non-profit organization.
A Waymo spokesman declined to comment on Levandowski’s amnesty. Uber did not respond to a request for comment.