President Donald Trump on Wednesday forgiven Anthony Levandowski, a former Google and Uber engineer and motor vehicle expert who was sentenced up to 18 months in prison in August 2020 for stealing trade secrets from Google.
Levandowski was a pioneer in automotive technology at Google and earned millions. He left the company to found Otto, a self-driving company that he sold to the Uber giant in 2016 for an estimated $ 680 million. A year later, Google Waymo’s autonomous car unit sued Uber alleging that Levandowski had taken thousands of Google files, including confidential product designs, before leaving.
The companies finally settled when Uber offered Waymo nearly $ 250 million in shares and agreed not to infringe on the company’s intellectual property.
But in August 2019, federal prosecutors charged Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and attempted robbery. In March last year, Levandowski pleaded guilty to a felony theft of trade secrets and admitted to downloading thousands of internal documents from Google to your personal computer. In addition to the 18-month sentence, he was also ordered to pay a $ 95,000 fine and $ 756,500 in restitution. A judge agreed to allow Levandowski to remain out of jail until the end of the trial Coronavirus pandemic.
“Mr. Levandowski has paid a significant price for his actions and plans to dedicate his talents to advancing the public good, “the White House said in a statement. statement on the last day of the Trump presidency announcing the pardon along with dozens of others. The White House called Levandowski “an American businessman who led Google’s efforts to create standalone technology.”
Among the people who support the pardon is a Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, a longtime advocate of Trump and founder of Oculus Palmer Luckey, which once gave money to a pro-Trump non-profit organization associated with the high-right.
A Waymo spokesman declined to comment on Levandowski’s pardon. Uber did not respond to any requests for comment.