A Tesla dealership in China, January 4, 2021. -

Long Wei / Costfoto / Sipa USA / SIP

Theft or a handling error?

Tesla accuses a former employee of having stolen 26,000 confidential files between his hiring on December 28, 2020 and his dismissal for these facts a week later.

The manufacturer therefore filed a complaint on Friday in a California court.

Banned downloads were spotted on January 6, 2021, and this computer engineer, who was teleworking due to Covid-19, assured that they were only personal administrative files, according to this complaint.

But Tesla, who explains that he immediately summoned him by videoconference when the downloads were reported, also accuses this former employee of having sought to destroy the evidence.

The group ensures that during this interview, the engineer refused to give access to his computer, and "could be seen (...) hurrying to erase information from his computer", details the complaint.

The man then, at the request of Tesla officials who had summoned him, identified on the Dropbox site, which allows online file storage.

“This revealed that the same confidential Tesla files seen on his laptop were still available through his cloud storage account,” the complaint further states.

"Trade secrets" according to Tesla

Downloads began on December 31, 2020, and lasted until January 4, 2021, with "additional" downloads on January 6, according to Tesla.

The downloaded files "have nothing to do with its responsibilities", and relate to the automation of certain manufacturing and marketing processes, which could be useful to a competitor "to create a similar automated system in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the money Tesla spent to build it ”.

"After discovering the theft (…) of Tesla's trade secrets, and because of his repeated lies and cover-ups during the investigation, Tesla fired [the engineer] the same day", it is further clarified.

He explained to the

New York Post that he

had transferred these documents to his Dropbox by mistake.

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