Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi says it appears as though former Google and ex-Uber self-driving expert Anthony Levandowski did indeed steal documents from the search engine giant.
Earlier this week, Levandowski was charged with 33 counts of stealing trade secrets from Waymo, where he was a key executive. After leaving with Alphabet’s self-driving car division, he briefly jumped ship to Uber, allegedly with these sensitive documents, before the ride-hailing company fired him in the midst of a huge lawsuit between itself and Waymo.
Speaking with Emily Chang from Bloomberg TV after news of the criminal charges filed against Levandowski broke, Khosrowshahi said Uber did everything it could to ensure documents from Waymo were not brought over to it.
Also Read: Former Google And Uber Engineer Anthony Levandowski Charged With Trade Secret Theft
“I wasn’t here when we brought Anthony on board but what I do know is that we went to incredible depths to makes sure that any information that Anthony might have acquired from Google – and it sure looked like he did – didn’t make it over to our company,” Khosrowshahi said. “That was our responsibility and I think we were incredibly diligent in making sure that we were not guilty of anything that could be nefarious one way or another.’
This issue prompted a multi-million dollar lawsuit between Waymo and Uber in 2017. Waymo asserted that Levandowski stole 14,000 documents relating to information about its self-driving cars. The autonomous vehicle engineer went on to establish self-driving truck startup Otto that was later sold for $680 million to Uber.
When put on the stand during the 2017 trial, Levandowski pleaded the Fifth. Waymo and Uber ultimately reached a settlement in early 2018 that saw the ride-hailing giant pay roughly $245 million in equity to Alphabet.