Tesla didn’t say if it believed Khatilov had coordinated with others. However, it warned that it “did not uncover” all of Khatilov’s actions, and that he might still be sharing Tesla’s files. The staffer had to work remotely due to the pandemic, making it difficult to verify that the files had been deleted.
The automaker has been highly protective of its technology in the past, having sued Rivian and Zoox for allegedly hiring recruits who brought Tesla secrets with them. That’s on top of suing individuals like Martin Tripp, who Elon Musk called a “saboteur.” Khatilov’s case, if true, is only likely to heighten Tesla’s concerns about trade secret theft — if people sign up just to steal automation tools, Tesla may feel justified in jealously protecting its all-important EV and self-driving technology.