An Indian American former Hewlett-Packard (HP) vice-president has pleaded guilty in a California court to stealing trade secrets from his previous employer, IBM.
Atul Malhotra, 42, admitted in the federal court in San Jose to passing a confidential email from IBM to his senior HP executives, media reports said.
Malhotra was director of sales and business development at IBM in March 2006 when he requested pricing information about IBM services. Two months later, he joined HP's print division and passed on that information to his seniors.
An indictment filed in the court in late June said the message he passed on contained sensitive information about business practices at IBM.
HP said in a statement that the activity for which Malhotra was charged was in direct violation of their policies. They said they conducted an internal investigation at the time, fired him and reported the incident to law enforcement. His employment only lasted for four months.
Malhotra, of Santa Barbara, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of as much as $250,000.
A sentencing hearing is set for October 29.