Friday, July 17, 2009

Stolen Goldman Sachs code could be used to manipulate markets unfairly

A former Goldman Sachs computer programmer, Sergey Aleynikov, was arrested and charged with stealing computer code related to the firm's high-speed stock and commodities trading platform. Federal prosecutors allege Aleynikov downloaded the code and then uploaded it to a computer server in Germany. Aleynikov claims he "only intended to collect 'open source' files on which he had worked, but later realized that he had obtained more files than he intended."

Aleynikov was part of a team responsible for developing and improving Goldman Sachs's trading platform. He was required to sign a confidentiality agreement when first employed there. He resigned from the firm to work for a new company that also planned to engage in high-volume automated trading.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Facciponti told a federal magistrate judge at a bail hearing that, Goldman Sachs "has raised the possibility that there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways.”

See, "Ex-Goldman Employee Charged With Code Theft ," Wall St. Journal, July 6, 2009, at; "Goldman Sachs Loses Grip on Its Doomsday Machine," Bloomberg, July 9, 2009, at; "Steal this code," New York Times, July 16, 2009, at

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