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Ex-Google and Uber engineer ordered to pay Google $179 million for poaching employees

Oddly enough, he might not have to pay that money at all

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Photo (c) Andrei Stanescu - Getty Images
Anthony Levandowski, the one-time Google engineer who helped develop self-driving cars, has been ordered to pay $179 million to his former company after going back on his word not to poach employees when he incubated his own self-driving truck startup that was later bought by Uber. 

Google’s not exactly strapped for cash, but it may never see that money. At one time, Levandowski also had a fat wallet thanks to a $120 million bonus from Google. However, he recently filed for bankruptcy protection and claimed that he had less than $100 million to his name. 

Still might not have to pay

Even if Levandowski had the money, he still might not have to pay. The New York Times reported that the employment agreement Levandowski had with Uber not only lets him off the hook but raises the question of exactly who is responsible for paying Google. 

“While Uber and Levandowski are parties to an indemnification agreement, whether Uber is ultimately responsible for such indemnification is subject to a dispute between the company and Levandowski,” Uber stated in a recent securities filing.

Levandowski has still more to worry about

In addition to this fracas, the legal system is a far cry from being done with Levandowski. He’s also looking down the barrel of 33 counts of theft of Google trade secrets and confidential files when he departed Google’s Waymo to launch his aforementioned self-driving truck startup that Uber later purchased.

Uber, Levandowski, and Waymo previously settled a separate feud with Uber which gave Waymo some $245 million of its stock.

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