A former Apple employee has admitted stealing trade secrets over the company’s self-driving car plans.

Xiaolang Zhang pleaded guilty on Monday, August 22.

Federal prosecutors say Zhang downloaded the schematic for an Apple self-driving circuit board and that he had revealed his plans to work for a Chinese self-driving vehicle firm and making a last-minute airline reservation to China.

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He was arrested at the San Jose airport after he passed through a security checkpoint.

Zhang initially denied the allegations, but according to court documents filed on Monday, he altered his plea to guilty after reaching a plea agreement with the prosecution. 

The plea agreement is final, and he will be sentenced in November.

Zhang faces as much as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after admitting a felony charge of theft of trade secrets.

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Zhang’s lawyer acknowledged the plea deal but declined to make any other comments.

A request for comment was not immediately answered by Apple or the US Department of Justice.

The other former Apple engineer, Jizhong Chen, denies charges related to allegedly stealing trade secrets from Apple’s electric car division in early 2019.

His court appearance is scheduled for Monday, August 29.

Source: Reuters

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