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Ex-Uber self-driving head owes US$179m to Google in contract dispute

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The former head of Uber Technologies Inc's self-driving technology unit must pay US$179 million to Alphabet Inc's Google to end a legal battle over his split from the company, according to a court order on Wednesday.

[SAN FRANCISCO] The former head of Uber Technologies Inc's self-driving technology unit must pay US$179 million to Alphabet Inc's Google to end a legal battle over his split from the company, according to a court order on Wednesday.

Anthony Levandowski and colleague Lior Ron engaged in unfair competition and breached their duty of loyalty and contractual obligations when they started a autonomous vehicle technology rival with technology and employees from Google, an arbitration panel ruled in December.

Though Mr Ron settled with Google for US$9.7 million last month, Mr Levandowski had disputed the arbitration ruling. On Wednesday, a San Francisco County court confirmed the arbitration panel's decision and award.

Waymo, Uber and Mr Levandowski's attorney Neel Chatterjee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

It was known that Mr Levandowski could owe US$127 million, but previously undisclosed interest and attorneys' fees were later included.

The arbitration victory was the latest for Google and its self-driving tech spin-off Waymo in a multi-pronged legal battle with Uber.

Uber is likely to be responsible for the payments to Google because it indemnifies workers under its employment agreements. But the company has said in financial filings that it expects to challenge paying for Levandowski, who is fighting a federal indictment on charges of stealing trade secrets from Google.

REUTERS