back to article Ex-Goldman Sachs coder cuffed on fresh 'source theft' charges

A Goldman Sachs programmer cleared six months ago of stealing the source code to the bank’s high-frequency trading system has been re-arrested and charged. The Manhattan district attorney has now accused Sergey Aleynikov, 42, of unlawfully using secret scientific material and unlawfully duplicating computer-related material. …


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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Permafailure and suppercorrupt Goldman Sachs has "secret scientific material" that is its "secret sauce".

    That must be the sauce that comes from fapping hard and long.

    I wonder whether anything looked into whether the DA is currently upgrading his mansion with revenues unknown? He seems to be into "lawfare" so beloved by various pressure groups.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "employees who exploit their access to sensitive information should expect to face criminal prosecution"

    Well that depends on how far up the corp ladder you are! The further up you go the less punishment you can expect for being a naughty a boy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Banks in particular are pretty good at prosecuting senior staff, there have been any number of fraud cases and corruption cases against senior (up to an including board level) staff.

      1. Chris 249

        Re: No...

        oh like this guy (Fabrice Tourre), who they allowed back to work pretty much straight away...

  3. JeeBee

    What a waste of public money for the police to keep on investigating this case. It makes you wonder if there's money changing hands somewhere to keep the police interested in their vendetta against this man.

    1. Hollerith 1


      Goldman Sachs is a voracious, litigious company that eats its young. To steal from them is to steal from the Mafia. The guy lifted code that he must have known was not 'open source': he did or should have known the licences he was working on and remembered all the confidentiality/proprietory agreements he signed when he joined. In any case, it is always best to assume that the company owns everything you create that cannot be clearly demonstrated to be common or standard throughout the world. GS are, I'm sure, keeping this pot on the boil because they want to make sure we see this guy's tarred and gibbeted body swaying in the wind, as a discouragement to others.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      If he stole code which didn't belong to him, in order to take it to/sell it to another company for that company to get commercial advantage, he is a criminal and deserves to be prosecuted. These systems aren't something you knock up in your bedroom in spare time, they are hugely complicated and researched and developed over tens even hundreds of man years of time.

      I don't see why your immediate assumption is of a vendetta and corrupt payments.

  4. blindjustis

    I thought the real issue was...

    Keeping the code secret.

    To prevent people noticing that the code was sniffing network packets.

    I.E. on the exchange where the servers were colocated, and then frontrunning the trades...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I thought the real issue was...

      And now we veer off sharply into ludicrous conspiracy theories.

      A little critical thinking would have produced this: If it was doing what you say, why would they get the police involved, because the code would inevitably be examined to make sure it was the same, the chances are anything it did out of the ordinary would be noticed.

      1. blindjustis

        Re: I thought the real issue was...

        Ok maybe I should have used the joke alert icon - I was just repeating the joke that was passed around the trading desk I worked for when it was kicking off. (different organisation - no inside info as far as I know)

        But I'm now intrigued, do you actually think they identified the code by eyeball and could see what it did?

        I'm guessing a quick look at the server log for the transfer, and running a diff tool over the source would be much more likely/accurate....

        The man didn't even claim it wasn't the the source - but that he though it was open source. And a trade secret, with all parties culpable - who would talk?

        And seriously - you think plod would spot if the code was doing something it shouldn't?

        That's enough critical thinking I'm off for a pint.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I thought the real issue was...

      My guess on Goldfools Suck reaction here is that nobody cares if it's got netsniffer code

      in it nearly so much as the GPL2 license declarations strewn thru it.... which would totally

      rip GS a new asshole if it got out ;)

      Fubar (anonymous 'cuz I dig the mask)

  5. Tim Worstal


    You cannot be charged with the same crime twice in the US. No, not even in State and then Federal courts or v versa.

    And it's more than just "the same crime". It's "substantially" the same crime.

    His lawyer should be able to get this tossed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Eh?

      No, you cannot be tried for the same crime twice.

      If charges were dropped, for whatever reason, you can be charged again.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    none of you ask the rather important question.

    goldman sucks are a bunch of crooks,yes.

    they have proven record of breaking law,bribery,lobbying etc,etc.yes

    so how and where did goldman sucks "acquire" the code in question ?.

    they may say they paid lots for hotshot coders to write,some folk may claim they wrote some or all of it,if so,where did they "acquire"code from.

    university they studied at probably has a case,so does college,school,even coders parents have as fair a claim as goldman sucks do to ownership/copyright,and therefore a share of all the bent profits that bank/casinos "earn".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: doh

      By your argument, I deserve some of the money made by any company, because I pay for taxes which fund schools.

  7. Tom 35 Silver badge

    This guy was an amature

    Goldman Sachs board rip off more money in a second then this guy. Of course it's all ok because they are a bank.

    If a person tried to run a "frequent trading system" they would be in jail for fraud in about 10 seconds.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This guy was an amature

      Grow Up. The world is not a personal conspiracy by The Man against you.

  8. Shagbag

    Knight Capital

    Anyone want a copy of Knight Capital's HFT code?

  9. JaitcH

    On the day after this second revenge charge was made public ...

    the evil empire of Goldman Sachs was advised by the Justice Department they were facing no more charges.

    This high-speed trading is nuts. The feeds from the trading servers to the high-speed traders computers are physically adjusted to ensure the data arrives at each traders computer precisely at the same time.

    There is a detailed report in .Com - US version..

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New charges?

    I fail to see how these charges are *new*

  11. ~mico

    Double jeopardy...

    ...apparently doesn't stick if you're Goldman Sachs.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Secret scientific material?

    He used Open Source to write the original app and on leaving the company took hos own code with him.

    "The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Sergey Aleynikov, a naturalized US citizen from Russia, was not guilty of stealing computer code under the Economic Espionage Act (EEA)". link Feb 2012

    "A defense lawyer, Kevin Marino, argued in his opening statement that Aleynikov intended to strip out pieces of open- source software" link

    "During a two-week trial, Marino told jurors that his client was merely trying to copy parts of the company’s software that were taken from public software codes". link

  13. pierce

    it wasnt his code if he wrote it at work. it was his employers code.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Goldmans secret scientific material?

      Wasn't his code?

      "it wasnt his code if he wrote it at work. it was his employers code".

      That's for the court to decide. Aleynikov does state he used Open Source. If they used the same developer platform as here, then it was some java app written under Eclipse and using algorithems borrowed from freely available publications on some *edu domains. If so, then perhaps his defence is that the code he took was in the public domain. Programmers do keep a set of favored apps and libraries they are most familiar with.<br><br>

      Notice that they've altered the original charge from source code streling to using secret scientific material and unlawfully duplicating computer-related material. I figure this is a case of Goldmans punitively punishing Aleynikov for having the tenemety to go looking for a new job and as a warning to others in the industry.<br><br>

      Eclipse Software Development Environment

  14. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

    The saga continues...

    For those who are not familiar, this case had been going on for quite some time.

    The founders of Tezza Tech, left Citadel to start their own company. The owner was sued by Citadel for also stealing proprietary code along with violating his 'gardening period'.

    You can probably google the Crains Chicago Business article that details how he had to pay 1+ million USD for destroying evidence in the lawsuit. It appears that he wiped his hard drives clean, before handing over his PC for forensic investigation. His claim was that he was addicted to porn and didn't want it found out.

    Seriously you can't make this shit up.

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