SAN FRANCISCO — A recent letter from the U.S. Attorney’s office confirms the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation connected to allegations that a former Uber executive stole self-driving car technology from a Google spin-off to help the ride-hailing service build robotic vehicles.
The letter unsealed Wednesday by a federal judge marks the Justice Department’s first acknowledgement of the probe. The criminal investigation was mentioned in court hearings two weeks ago, but the Justice Department had declined to comment. The U.S. Attorney’s office in San Francisco unsuccessfully tried to keep its letter disclosing the investigation under seal to protect the probe’s integrity.
The Nov. 22 letter didn’t identify the targets of the investigation. Google spin-off Waymo has alleged former executive Anthony Levandowski stole its technology before he joined Uber last year.