back to article A curious tale of the priest, the broker, the hacked newswires, and $100m of insider trades

Two former investment bankers, one of whom is also a priest, have been found guilty of an elaborate scam – hacking newswires to read press releases prior to publication, and trade millions using this insider information. Vitaly Korchevsky, formerly a veep at Morgan Stanley and a pastor at the Slavic Evangelical Baptist Church …

  1. Rich 11 Silver badge

    The jokes just write themselves

    Two former investment bankers, one of whom is also a priest, have been found guilty of an elaborate scam

    Financial or spiritual?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The jokes just write themselves

      The serious question is which is worse?

      1. JustWondering

        Re: The jokes just write themselves

        AC: Probably not the one you go to jail for.

    2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: The jokes just write themselves

      I had these two lines copied to make the exact same point!

      Well done for getting there first and upvote for your industry.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: The jokes just write themselves

        and upvote for your industry

        Do you mean by this that you are praising the IT industry in general, or are you praising my determination to read El Reg from the first moment I got into work this morning? ;-)

        1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

          Re: The jokes just write themselves

          For reading El Reg as soon as you get to work, of course. You clearly have your priorities straight.

  2. Waseem Alkurdi
    WTF?

    Priest you say?

    And is a scammer? Somebody's gotta tell him that he can't serve both God and Mammon.

    Seriously? You literally worship money and you call yourself a priest?

    If you're fine with passing that image to your community, then I'm glad to have explained to you another reason why people are turning to atheism.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Priest you say?

      Somebody's gotta tell him that he can't serve both God and Mammon.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICWfoBIxcFg

      No further comment needed

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "Seriously? You literally worship money and you call yourself a priest?"

      It looks to me it's working that way for many thousands years... actually temples hoarded and stored gold, silver and precious stones far before banks...

    3. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: Priest you say?

      "Somebody's gotta tell him that he can't serve both God and Mammon."

      But when your Religion is a nothing but a business front for huge tax deductions, surely they are one and the same?

    4. phuzz Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Priest you say?

      I thought the point of most religions in the US was to make money? After all, some of them only have onethree private jets.

    5. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Priest you say?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3MkK0rpxk0

    6. JustWondering

      Re: Priest you say?

      Waseem Alkurdi: I have never been able to understand why the Omnipotent Creator of the Entire Infinite Universe is always broke and begging for money.

    7. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Priest you say?

      You literally worship money and you call yourself a priest?

      Unfortunately, the US has a particularly pernicious heresy - that God approves of people chasing money to the exclusion of all else and that getting rich is a sure sign of his favour.

      It's extensively practiced in the Evangelical community there - especially on the Conservative side.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "Unfortunately, the US has a particularly pernicious heresy"

        That's a direct inheritance from Calvinism - "predestination". On one side, it didn't demonized those trying to become successful regardless of their origin, unlike Catholicism - which preferred to preserve the status quo - on the other, it ended to become a justification for the worst political/business behaviours and practice.

  3. Waseem Alkurdi
    IT Angle

    The conspirators demonstrated pretty good operational security – compartmentalizing their hardware and wireless hotspots solely for their illegal trading and destroying some equipment to cover their tracks.

    Theoretically and technically speaking, isn't that enough to prevent them from being caught?

    If you use (totally, completely) separate devices and Wi-Fi hotspots, aren't you a separate person to the Internet? (Assume that no mistakes are made - no "clean" identity is leaked through "dirty" devices, for example)

    (of course keeping your personal equipment out of range of the "dirty" ones so techniques like cell triangulation and identification of the private phone and "dirty" phone are out of question?)

    However, SEC investigators spotted the similarities in multiple trades, and started asking questions.

    What trades and what similarities? If they've known there was trade about this in particular, couldn't they just interrogate the other party, like they do with drug dealers for example, where they arrest the "customer" to get to the dealer?

    1. jmch Silver badge

      "However, SEC investigators spotted the similarities in multiple trades, and started asking questions.

      What trades and what similarities? "

      I suspect it would start with observing some anomalous patterns, eg some stock that trades on average $X per day suddenly gets $10X of trades immediately BEFORE an earnings release. It was said in the article that one of the traders didn't use shell companies to do the trades but did them in their own name, so the SEC could link multiple such anomalous trading patterns to a single person.

      I bet that the 'trading in his own name' thing was actually what got them caught.

    2. Joe Harrison Silver badge

      There's this thing called parallel construction where law enforcement find out stuff using methods which are themselves illegal. Then they have to explain their investigation by inventing a daft story about how their AI spotted patterns etc.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Then they have to explain their investigation by inventing a daft story about how their AI spotted patterns etc.

        Used to be the case. Not any more. SEC and most other watchdogs now all use Bayes statistics based analysis which has > 90% success rate on picking typical insider info based trades done on embargoed info.

    3. steelpillow Silver badge

      "What trades and what similarities? If they've known there was trade about this in particular, couldn't they just interrogate the other party"

      Stock trading doesn't work like that. You trade with a registered broker or similar and they buy and sell the amount you want, there is no one-to-one between client transactions.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Bit of a Stealthy* Quantum Communications Operation

    Seems like the only difference and contrived crime committed by the two former investment bankers and friends is to think and act to benefit just another circle of friends who are not members of a type of royal and ancient corrupting exclusive executive club which plays and preys on all manner of markets marked with prices to command and control money flows/energy sources.

    A Perverse and Subverted Corruptible System cannot handle effective novel and rogue competition and that is a catastrophic vulnerability for exploitation to crash and crush rigged - as in fake and fantastic - market shenanigans.

    And all attempts to slam closed open doors and criminalise emerging endeavours, and it is only natural and fully to be expected that their numbers will increase at an alarming rate, will simply prove the Perverse and Subversive Corruption of Extant SCADA Systems as both a Fact for Fighting Against and Correcting and a Fiction for Finessing thus to Deliver Something Else Completely Different and Much More Equitable.

    It is your Duty and an Inalienable Right to Correct All Such Wrongs if you don't want to be Thought Easily Cuckolded and Taken for Granted and Simply made the Ignorant Fool for Milking and Bilking.

    How far along that Journey are You?

    * Covert and Clandestine/Secret and Sublime.

    1. rmason Silver badge

      Re: A Bit of a Stealthy* Quantum Communications Operation

      "It is your Duty and an Inalienable Right to Correct All Such Wrongs if you don't want to be Thought Easily Cuckolded and Taken for Granted and Simply made the Ignorant Fool for Milking and Bilking."

      The problem, @amanfrommars1, is we all struggle to tell because of chemtrails and vaccines.

      Were it not for those pesky chemtrails, and the autistic knees I have because of vaccines, I'd be able to spot when i'm being takrn advantage of.

      I'm almost positive the MMR vaccine gave me ADHD of the hip too. Bastards. Obviously this is what the CIA want.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: A Bit of a Stealthy* Quantum Communications Operation

      For all of you struggling and engaging in down votes, here be some light entertainment which reaches real deep and makes uncomfortable listening for a mighty few who, contrary to their popularised and polarised opinion, are anything but Almighty. .......... It's a big club and you aint in it

      Indeed, their abiding weakness is the faux power of their default instrument of fiscal command for universal control. It just doesn't cut the mustard any more and identifies prime leading enemies in Store and in Stocks for Future Liquidation/Great Game removal.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: A Bit of a Stealthy* Quantum Communications Operation

        For "Great Game removal" I'd recommend Daz, if it works half as well as it does on stubborn stains I'm sure it'll be great.

    3. EJ

      Re: A Bit of a Stealthy* Quantum Communications Operation

      Francis E. Dec! We thought you were dead.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    when I were a lad....

    Back in the '90's I was a contractor working for a newswire service, and wrote the tool used by CFO's to lodge embargoed announcements with that newswire. The thinking behind the security decisions was that the embargoed announcement had a maximum value of a billion dollars that reduced to zero as the embargo expired. Therefore adequate security meant anything that would cost more then a billion dollars to crack within the embargo period. We didn't want to get involved with the RSA monopoly at the time as it was a) far too expensive and b) being constantly targeted, so we ended up implementing IDEA. I wasn't responsible for what happened to the announcements after they reached the servers, I really hope they didn't store them in cleartext ;-)

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: when I were a lad....

      So business is dependent upon media for their wealth and security?

      Now that is a systemic vulnerability rotten ripe to myriad multiple cores for exploitation and abuse/misuse/creative and/or destructive utilisation.

  6. Nick Kew Silver badge

    so we ended up implementing IDEA

    You ended up reinventing a wheel? Or you mean you did the sensible thing and used a well-supported crypto library's IDEA implementation?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I did mention that it was the '90's right? There were no crypto libraries. We had to make do with dial up modems and only the lucky, lucky b*stards had ISDN. We had to code things in cold hard C with only a luke warm debugger to keep us on the straight and narrow! But you try and tell the young people today that... and they won't believe ya'.

  7. Potemkine! Silver badge

    I guess the priest didn't read the lines saying it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God?

    He may have a hard time in his life, it may be worse in his afterlife.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      A little bit harsh but nevertheless there is a certain validity in the opinion

      Was it Andrew Carnegie who most recently noted and espoused that to die rich is to die disgraced?

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: A little bit harsh but nevertheless there is a certain validity in the opinion

        "Money can't buy you happiness... but it allows you to be miserable in comfort"

    2. wayward4now
      Megaphone

      Since when does the "established church" follow the teaching of Jesus?? If they did, there would be no problem giving back all the shit they stole. Hey Peru! Demand you gold and silver back!

  8. Mark 85 Silver badge

    the Securities and Exchange Commission, said it has since recovered $53m of the haul.

    I've never heard anyone explain this but who gets the "recovered" money? I suspect it's not any stock broker but the US Government.

  9. R Valentine

    Not a priest

    I don't think Evangelical Baptist Churches have priests. Pastors, ministers, clergy, yes. But never priests.

    1. EJ

      Re: Not a priest

      You missed the "Slavic" part....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Newswire Drain Tanks: HODL b4 We Profit

    You may call these drain tanks newswires, and some of their while-not-published SharKey scumbags - readers of the above mentioned drain tanks. But wouldn't it mean you (generalized) are either one of the 1984 sheeple generation with nothing brightly shining for the humans from under your cap - or one of the real established and, unluckily, thought honorable HODLTHENEWS scummers, protected by the thing you so comfortably taught to name law.

    That damn stupid couple look so much better than those spider newswhores.

    Not? Go surprise me.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Newswire Drain Tanks: HODL b4 We Profit

      Thanks, but we already have amanfrommars1.

  11. Winkypop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Guys guys guys!!!

    You're giving greed a bad name!

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