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Ex-Apple employee pleads not guilty to stealing self-driving car trade secrets

Xiaolang Zhang faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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Xiaolang Zhang is accused of downloading proprietary files from Apple.

Stephen Lam/Getty Images

The former member of Apple's self-driving car team charged with stealing trade secrets has pleaded not guilty in federal court

Xiaolang Zhang entered his plea in San Jose, California, Bloomberg reports.

He was arrested on July 7 as he tried to fly to China and accused of downloading proprietary files from Apple before going to work for Xiaopeng Motors, also known as Xmotors.

He admitted to downloading the files to the FBI, according to prosecutors, who told the judge that he faces a single count of trade-secret theft and could be hit with a 10-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Zhang is trying make bail of $300,000 with property, his lawyer said.

Xmotors has said that it found no indication Zhang ever communicated any sensitive information from Apple to them, according to Bloomberg.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.