Former Microsoft Staffer Charged with Leaking Trade Secrets to French Blogger
The Microsoft logo is seen at the firm's offices in Bucharest, Romania.Reuters

A former Microsoft employee is facing criminal charges after he allegedly handed over trade secrets to a blogger in France, US court documents showed.

Russian national Alex Kibkalo, a former Microsoft employee in Lebanon and Russia, has confessed to Microsoft investigators that he provided confidential company documents and information to the blogger, documents from a Seattle federal court showed.

Kibkalo has relocated to Russia and, based on a LinkedIn account, is currently working for another US-based technology firm with offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg, according to an FBI agent who investigated the matter.

A lawyer representing Kibkalo could not be reached for comment outside regular US business hours.

Earlier, an internal probe by Microsoft revealed illegal transmissions of proprietary and confidential trade secrets, according to the court documents. An email from Kibkalo was found within the blogger's Hotmail account, confirming that he transferred confidential data, reported Reuters.

The blogger, who was not identified, was known to those in the Microsoft blogging community for posting screenshots of pre-release versions of the Windows Operating System. The blogger hid his identity by stating that he was from Quebec, Canada, according to the documents.

The court documents said during interviews, the blogger admitted to posting information on Twitter and his websites and selling Windows Server activation keys on eBay.

"We take protection of our intellectual property very seriously, including cooperating with law-enforcement agencies who are investigating potential criminal actions by our employees or others," a Microsoft spokesman told Reuters.

Kibkalo worked with Microsoft for seven years. He received a poor performance review in 2012 and threatened to resign if the review was not revised, court documents showed.

According to Microsoft, in July and August 2012, Kibkalo uploaded proprietary software including pre-release software updates of Windows 8 RT and ARM devices, alongside the Microsoft Activation Server Software Development Kit (SDK) to a computer in Washington and later to his personal Windows Live SkyDrive account.

The case is in USA versus Kibkalo, Case No 2:14-mj-00114-MAT, US District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle.