President Donald Trump on Wednesday forgiven Anthony Levandowski, a former Google and Uber engineer and autonomous vehicle expert who was condemned to 18 months in prison in August 2020 for stealing trade secrets from Google.
Levandowski was a pioneer of automotive driving technology at Google and made millions. He left the company to found Otto, a truck startup that led the seller to the Uber giant in 2016 for an estimated value of $ 680 million. A year later, Google Waymo’s self-drive car unit he cited in Uber lawsuits alleging that Levandowski had taken with him thousands of Google files, including confidential product designs, before parting.
The companies were established when Uber offered Waymo nearly $ 250 million in stock and they agreed not to violate the company’s intellectual property.
But in August 2019, federal prosecutors charged Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft. In March last year, Levandowski pleaded guilty to one count of stealing trade secrets and admitted to downloading thousands of internal documents from Google on his personal computer. In addition to the 18-month sentence, he was also ordered to pay a fine of $ 95,000 and $ 756,500 in restitution. A judge agreed to let Levandowski stay out of prison until the end of the trial coronavirus pandemic.
“Mr. Levandowski has paid a significant price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to advancing the public good,” the White House said in a statement. statement the last day of the Trump presidency announcing the pardon with tens of others. The White House called Levandowski “an American entrepreneur who led Google’s efforts to create automotive technology.”
Among the people who support the pardon are Silicon Valley billionaires Peter Thiel, a longtime supporter of Trump, and founder of Oculus Palmer Luckey, who once donated money to a nonprofit Trump associated with the alt-right.
A Waymo spokesman declined to comment on Levandowski’s pardon. Uber did not respond to a request for comment.