The Ministry of Justice officials announced the indictment against Levandowski at a press conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.
The charges are based on 33 downloads in which the information was “reasonably protected by Google, had economic value and was not known to everyone,” officials said.
Each indictment carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine of $ 250,000, but that does not mean that prosecutors will demand a conviction against him for 330 years, said prosecutor David Anderson.
“Silicon Valley is not the Wild West,” said John Bennett, Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who has been investigating Levandowski since May 2017. “The fast and competitive environment does not mean not that federal laws do not apply or can be ignored, “he added.
Miles Ehrlich, attorney for the defendant stated that: “The allegations in this case are essentially a continuation of claims already discredited in a civil lawsuit between Waymo (Editor’s note) and Uber which was settled there More than a year and a half ago, “adding that” not one of these supposedly secret files has ever been sent to Uber or any other company or person “.
Waymo had accused Levandowski, the former leader of his autonomous vehicle program, of stealing technology and providing it to Uber. In the amicable settlement, which closed a particularly controversial episode in the fight for dominance of driverless cars, Uber had promised not to use Waymo’s technology and give Alphabet’s affiliate a share of the capital.