Tesla sues former employee for alleged theft of 26,000 confidential files

Just last Friday, Tesla accused Alex Khatilov, a newly unlinked software engineer, of stealing a massive batch of confidential code within days of joining the company's staffing plant.

While professional disengagement alleges that it is all a misunderstanding, Elon Musk's company has already taken legal action against him.

Specifically, Khatilov is accused of processing a batch of 26,000 files with highly confidential company information and transferring them to his personal Dropbox account. Cataloging the action as "malicious" and "deliberately intending to hurt Tesla's business," the celebrated electric car manufacturer took legal action against the engineer, through a federal lawsuit.

Alex Khatilov claimed to hear this lawsuit through the press, particularly through the New York Post, a tabloid who contacted him as soon as the news began circulating. In statements with that medium, he insisted that those software files ended up in his Dropbox by mistake and that he certainly had no plans to steal the files or give them to someone else.

« I've been working in this industry for 20 years, and I know what sensitive documents are about, and I never tried to access any of them, or steal them," Khatilov told the American newspaper.


Tesla's accusation that he desa delighted in a lawsuit

In the lawsuit filed, Tesla ensures that the files that came into the engineer's possession contained code scripts that Tesla uses to automate several important business tasks, such as ordering parts and delivering vehicles. Tesla claims to be wary of trade secrets, which only about 40 of the company's approximately 50,000 employees can access.

Regarding the eventual use that may be given to this data, the company stated in its demand that it"inform competitors about which Tesla systems it believes are important and valuable to automate it and how to automate it, providing a roadmap to copy Tesla's innovation."

As for Khatilov's moves, Tesla claims that he began downloading files from Tesla's networks to his Dropbox account just three days after starting his work as a senior software quality control engineer on December 28.

Among the information stolen, Tesla claims that on January 4 of this year the download of a valuable batch of information that had been developed by other company engineers over the past 12 years was completed.

Khatilov pleading innocence, a replica questioned

In his defense, Khatilov notes that he downloaded certain files from Tesla's system because his work, executed entirely remotely, involved working with some of them. In the middle of a backup, he claims that he "unintentionally" moved the folder to his personal cloud backup, stating that "he didn't know there were 26,000 files there."

Records indicate that Khatilov downloaded a few more files on January 6, the day Tesla staff caught him and confronted him in a video call, as narrated in the lawsuit. Tesla claims that the stolen files "had nothing to do with their responsibilities."

Adding gravity to the imputed facts, Tesla claims that Khatilov tried to cover his tracks, feized ignorance about the matter, and subsequently ended up cornering his own lies. On the same day, on January 6, the audio engineer was disassociated from the company.

While Khatilov claims that he "forgot" the other thousands of stolen files, outside of his direct work, the company demand points out about his actions that "it became clear that the defendant had brazenly attempted to destroy the evidence by hastily deleting the Dropbox client and other files during the start of the interview when investigators were trying to remotely access his computer."

The accused engineer claims not to have lied in his statements. However, Tesla's accusations leave more room for doubt. In this case, justice will have the final say.

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