By Stephen Nellis
(Reuters) - U.S. authorities on Monday charged a former Apple Inc employee with theft of trade secrets, alleging that the person downloaded a secret blueprint related to a self-driving car to a personal laptop and later trying to flee the country, according to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The complaint said that the former employee, Xiaolang Zhang, disclosed intentions to work for a Chinese self-driving car startup and booked a last-minute flight to China after downloading the plan for a circuit board for the self-driving car. Authorities arrested Zhang on July 7 at the San Jose airport after he passed through a security checkpoint.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tamara Crepet, a lawyer provisionally appointed to represent Zhang, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, additional reporting by Jan Worlfe in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio)