Tesla Claims Employee Started Stealing Trade Secrets Days After Being Hired

Daniel Fowler
January 27, 2021

Tesla Inc. former software engineer was ordered to present before a judge to face allegations that three days into his job that man has started stealing important files and transforming them into a personal storage account. When confronted with this, Khatilov allegedly said he "forgot" about those files.

Alex Khaitov, the senior software quality assurance engineer, started his job at Tesla on December 28, 2020 and nearly immediately began downloading thousands of sensitive files, according to Tesla.

Khatilov, a software automation engineer, was hired as one of the select few Tesla employees to access the files, which were unrelated to his job according to the company.

According to Electrek's report, the EV manufacturer sued engineer Alex Khatilov for allegedly stealing proprietary Warp Drive software that the company used to automate purchasing and other systems within three days of starting work in late December 2020.

The company said on Friday that within three days of being hired, software engineer Alex Khatilov "brazenly stole thousands of trade computer scripts that took Tesla years to develop" and transferred them to his personal Dropbox, a cloud storage service. "Access to these scripts would enable engineers at other companies to reverse engineer Tesla's processes to create a similar system in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the expense".

"The scripts are extremely valuable to Tesla, and they would be to a competitor", the company claimed in the lawsuit. He told the New York Postin an interview that he had unintentionally moved the files to Dropbox, and, had been unaware that Tesla had filed a lawsuit against him until the newspaper contacted him.

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Khatilov was sacked when the internal investigators discovered the file transfer, according to Tesla.

Tesla added that investigators had to interview Khatilov remotely because of COVID-19, which means that they were not able to ensure the complete deletion of the files from his devices. Tesla also stated that the engineer tried to delete the Dropbox application and other files at the beginning of the meeting.

"I've been working for, like, 20 years in this industry and I know what sensitive documents are about, and I never, ever tried to access any of those, or steal it", Khatilov said when asked about the issue.

Tesla alleges that Khatilov lied about the theft and attempted to delete evidence, Bloomberg reported.

Khatilov said that nobody had told him that using Dropbox is prohibited. "I just started with the company". "I didn't lie (about) anything".

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