A former Apple employee is facing up to 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine for allegedly stealing secrets about the company’s self-driving car project.

Apple logo. Image: Facebook

Apple logo. Image: Facebook

The former Apple techie, Xiaolang Zhang, who left his position as a hardware engineer in May, was arrested by US authorities at San Jose airport on 7 July, while he was on his way to China, Fortune.com reported on 11 July.

Xiaolang had been working with Apple since December 2015. He reportedly took paternity leave in April and after returning to office expressed his intention to go back to China to work for Xiaopeng Motors or XMotors, which is also developing autonomous vehicles.

An internal probe by Apple’s security team found suspicious download activity in Xiaolang’s work devices. He was also seen returning to Apple’s office during his paternity leave and taking things from the labs in security footage.

According to prosecutors, Xiaolang admitted downloading files relating to Apple’s Project Titan, the Fortune report added.

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