Wednesday, October 07, 2009, 10/07/2009 12:39:00 PM

Grand Jury Looking Into Alleged Trade Secrets Theft By Hilton Employees

By Todd

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Hilton Worldwide and several of its former executives could face criminal charges over allegedly stealing documents from rival Starwood Hotels.

The Journal, citing unnamed sources, says a grand jury is investigating whether Hilton, owned by private equity firm Blackstone, used documents pilfered by executives who defected to Hilton from Starwood to replicate Starwood’s successful high-end W hotel brand.

Criminal indictments against major corporations are rare, but prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan are taking an aggressive line in this case, the Journal reports.

The grand jury is also investigating Steven Goldman, Hilton’s president of global development and real estate, who was placed on leave last month and isn’t expected to return to the company. Ross Klein and Amar Lalvani, former Starwood employees who moved to Hilton, are also under investigation.

Of course, the grand jury may decide not to indict anyone in the case, and prosecutors may or may not prosecute. Such a decision is expected within the next two months.


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