Meta Platforms has sued one of its former vice presidents, after he left the social networking giant to join an stealth AI startup.

According to a Bloomberg report, in its complaint filed in the California state court in Contra Costa County on 29 February, Meta levelled serious allegations against Dipinder Singh Khurana, who is also known as T.S. Khurana.

Indeed, Meta in its complaint alleged that Khurana stole company data, and also that eight Meta employees followed Khurana to join the AI startup.

A Facebook data centre. Image credit: Facebook

Meta allegations

The stealth startup is a Middle East based firm called Omniva, according to a number of media outlets.

Khurana at the time of writing is listed on Omniva’s webpage under the title of ‘Supply Chain’.

Omniva aims to lower the cost of artificial intelligence computing, by “solving for artificial intelligence’s high energy costs by reimagining the entire data centre design, construction and operations processes.”

Meta in its complaint alleged Khurana conducted “numerous, serious contractual, common law, and statutory wrongs….both during and after his Meta employment,” before a “stunning” betrayal in his defection to a “stealth” AI cloud computing startup.

“This case concerns the brazenly disloyal and dishonest conduct by former Meta employee T.S. Khurana,” the complaint alleges.

Khurana worked at Meta for 12 years, rising to the senior position at the company as VP of infrastructure.

But he left Meta in June 2023 to take a position as senior VP of supply-chain operations at a startup.

Meta alleged that Khurana before he left Meta, he allegedly uploaded a “trove of proprietary, highly sensitive, confidential, and non-public documents relating to employee pay and performance” to his personal Google Drive and Dropbox accounts.

Proprietary data

“As a Vice President, Meta entrusted Khurana to handle some of its most important business relationships and tasked him with delivering the best sourcing, supply chain, and engineering solutions for Meta’s business-critical Infrastructure organization,” the complaint alleged, saying that Khurana led Meta’s Sourcing and Operations Engineering team within Meta’s Infrastructure organisation.

“To accomplish his work at Meta, Khurana was given access to proprietary, confidential, non-public and highly sensitive Meta documents and information that only a limited set of Meta’s employees can access,” the complaint alleged.

“He was invited to meetings to chart Meta’s strategy for key initiatives (including infrastructure to support artificial-intelligence endeavors) that few employees can participate in,” Meta alleged.

“And he was privy to confidential, non-public, and highly sensitive employee information (including performance ratings and detailed compensation data) that Meta relies on to reward and retain industry-leading talent,” Meta further alleged. “This data is critical to Meta’s success and is closely guarded information. For his work, Khurana was handsomely compensated. But for Khurana, that was not enough.”

A Meta spokesperson told Bloomberg the company “takes this kind of egregious misconduct seriously. We will continue working to protect confidential business and employee information.”

Khurana did not immediately respond to a LinkedIn message seeking comment, Bloomberg reported.

The issue of people leaving a firm and allegedly taken data with them continues to make news headlines.

Last week the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that a Chinese national, Linwei Ding (aka Leon Ding), had been charged with allegedly stealing proprietary tech from Google, whilst secretly working for two Chinese firms.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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