Tesla, an electric vehicle manufacturer, has accused its former employee of stealing classified information. It is reported by CNBC with reference to the electronic database of the federal court of the Northern District of California.
It is clarified that accusations of theft of trade secrets and breach of contract have been brought against software engineer Alex Khatilov. The statement of claim does not say which country he is a citizen of. The specialist is allegedly also known under the names Alex Tilov and Sabir Khatilov. He lives in San Bruno, California.
He was hired at the end of December 2020. The lawsuit says that on the third day of work Khatilov began to steal files and scripts written in the Python programming language into his cloud storage Dropbox, in total he stole about 26 thousand files. As specified in Tesla, this information can make it clear to competitors “which systems Tesla considers important and valuable for automation.” The company also accused him of trying to cover his tracks by removing evidence when security began working with him.
The programmer himself said that the files were in the cloud by mistake. In an interview with The New York Post, he said that he was going to make a backup copy of the folder on his computer and accidentally placed it in the cloud storage. “I have worked in this industry for about 20 years, and I know what confidential documents are, and I have never, never tried to access or steal them,” Khatilov said. On the other hand, Tesla insists that the scripts it has uploaded have nothing to do with its responsibilities. Khatilov was fired in early January.
This isn’t the first time Tesla has sued or accused former employees of trade theft. For example, in December 2020, it became known that the former engineer of the company, Martin Tripp, would pay an American electric car manufacturer $ 400,000 for revealing classified information that was a trade secret while working for the company. He secretly contacted reporters and told them that Elon Musk’s company would not be able to meet the publicly stated goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 electric vehicles a week. He also said that Tesla was using defective batteries in its production, which led to a drop in the company’s stock.