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Ex-Uber engineer seeks bankruptcy after being ordered to pay Google $179 million

Anthony Levandowski
Anthony Levandowski, then head of Uber’s self-driving program, speaks in San Francisco in 2016.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press )

The star autonomous-driving engineer whose move from Google to Uber triggered one of Silicon Valley’s ugliest trade secret fights filed for bankruptcy on the same day a judge ordered him to pay $179 million over his defection from the Alphabet Inc. unit.

Anthony Levandowski’s filing for Chapter 11 protection comes as he’s fighting to fend off criminal charges that he stole proprietary information from Google.

Levandowski on Wednesday lost his bid to throw out an arbitration award over Google’s claims that the engineer violated an agreement to not poach employees. The award has swelled by $52 million, in large part because of interest.

“The numbers we’re dealing with here are pretty staggering, which means that the interest that’s running is considerable,” San Francisco Judge Ethan Schulman said at a Monday hearing.

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The award has added financial pressure on Levandowski, who hired top-shelf lawyers to defend him against the criminal case brought by federal prosecutors. Levandowski has denied wrongdoing.

Neel Chatterjee, Levandowski’s lawyer handling the Google award, declined to comment. Miles Ehrlich, the engineer’s lawyer in the criminal case, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Uber spokesman Matt Kallman declined to comment. Tom Price, a spokesman for Google, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.


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