The fate of a former Goldman Sachs programmer of trading code is now in the hands of a New York jury.
Sergey Aleynikov, who took code with him when he moved to a startup in high-speed trading technology, faces as much as 10 years in prison, if convicted of stealing trade secrets from his former employer, one of the largest electronic trading firms on Wall Street.
In closing arguments Thursday, Aleynikov's lawyer, Kevin Marino, did not dispute that Aleynikov took code with him. But Marino maintained that any contention that Aleynikov intended to use the code to build a competing system is "bogus." Marino earlier argued that Aleynikov was only interested in "open source" code that Goldman Sachs incorporated into its overall electronic trading programming.
Federal prosecutors argued that Aleynikov intended to build a new, competing trading platform at his new employer, Teza Technologies, using Goldman code as part of the basic mix. The code in question allegedly was uploaded to a server in Germany, as Aleynikov was leaving Goldman.
Aleynikov was getting a big raise at Teza, which intended to pay him $1.15 million a year.
Prosecutor Rebecca Rohr called Aleynikov “a high-tech thief, but a thief nonetheless.”
After uploading the code to a server in Germany, she said Aleynikov deleted files that would’ve shown what he had done.
“Like any good thief, he covered his tracks, brushing away the digital footprints,” she said.
Marino, said in his closing argument, that, "this is a silly prosecution,'' saying that Aleynikov was "foolish" to copy proprietary information from Goldman along with the open source code that purportedly was Aleynikov's real object. But that Aleynikov never intended to use any Goldman code in a trading platform.
Aleynikov was arrested July 3, 2009 at Newark International Airport in New Jersey on his way to Teza.