Washington: A former Google engineer sentenced for stealing trade secrets was given a full pardon by outgoing US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, reported news agency Reuters. Also Read - Joe Biden Withdraws Indian-American Neera Tanden's Nomination As Budget Chief After Pushback By US Senate

Anthony Levandowski, 40, was sentenced in August to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty in March. He was not in custody but a judge had said he could be taken into custody once the COVID-19 pandemic subsided. Also Read - Joe Biden Administration 'Undecided' On Ending Trump-Era H-1B Visa Ban

The White House said Levandowski had “paid a significant price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to advance the public good.” Also Read - This 10-Second Video Clip Has Been Sold For a Whopping Rs 48.4 Crore, What's Special About It?

The former Google employee was charged with stealing a trade secret on self-driving cars months before he briefly headed Uber Technologies Inc’s rival unit.

Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, a self-driving auto technology unit spun out of Google, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The pardon was backed by several leaders in the technology industry who have supported Trump, including investors Peter Thiel and Blake Masters and entrepreneur Palmer Luckey, according to the White House.

Levandowski transferred more than 14,000 Google files, including development schedules and product designs, to his personal laptop before he left, and while negotiating a new role with Uber.