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Engineer Anthony Levandowski in Federal Court, San Jose, August 27, 2019. REUTERS / Stephen Lam

A former Google star engineer was indicted on Tuesday (August 27th) by California federal justice for stealing secrets of making the autonomous car for the benefit of his new employer, Uber. Anthony Levandowski, 39, is being prosecuted by the US Department of Justice for 33 charges.

With our correspondent in San Francisco, Éric de Salve

It is a matter of industrial espionage in the heart of Silicon Valley, against the backdrop of a race for innovation to build the autonomous car .

Anthony Levandowski was one of the most prominent engineers in this particularly competitive industry. As early as 2009, he is one of the founders of Waymo, Google's unmanned car project.

According to California law, a few months before leaving his post in 2016, he begins to illegally download up to 14,000 confidential documents on his personal computer.

So many secrets of making the future autonomous car of Google, including the valuable LiDAR obstacle detection system, among others.

At the same time, the engineer is in contact with two of his main competitors, who will then be bought by Uber . The leader of the VTC eventually hired Mr. Levandowski in 2016.

" We all have the right to leave our job, " said California's federal prosecutor today. " But not to fill your pockets when you leave. Theft is not innovation; Silicon Valley is not the Wild West. "

In the meantime, Waymo and Uber have reached an agreement. But American justice has not finished with the former star engineer Google.

The fallen star of the Tech now faces up to ten years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine for each of his 33 charges.