Former Apple engineer pleads not guilty to stealing autonomous vehicle trade secrets

Zhang faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 USD fine

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The former Apple engineer accused of stealing trade secrets related to the company’s unannounced autonomous vehicle project has pled not guilty in a California federal court.

According to Bloomberg, Xiaolang Zhang entered the plea through his lawyer on July 16th, 2018.

Bloomberg also reported that prosecutors told U.S. Magistrate Judge Virginia K. DeMarchi that Zhang admitted to FBI investigators that he downloaded files related to Apple’s autonomous vehicle project to his wife’s laptop for later access.

Zhang faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 USD fine if convicted of the single count of trade secret theft of which he is charged.

Blueprints for a circuit board

U.S. authorities arrested Zhang on July 7th, 2018, at Mineta San Jose International Airport, as he was attempting to board a Hainan Airlines flight, according to the Mercury News.

According to a previous report from Reuters, Zhang downloaded blueprints for an autonomous vehicle circuit board, before booking his flight to China.

Zhang previously disclosed his intentions to work for Chinese electric vehicle startup XMotors, before leaving his engineering job at Apple.

Source: Bloomberg