Goldman Software Theft Trial Goes To The Jury

Dec 10 2010 | 12:25am ET

Sergei Aleynikov's fate is in the hands of a Manhattan jury following a week-and-a-half-long trial about whether he stole proprietary high-frequency trading code from Goldman Sachs before joining a controversial firm founded by Citadel Investment Group alumni.

"The evidence is in now and it is clear he chose to become a thief, a high-tech thief but a thief nonetheless," prosecutor Rebecca Rohr said during her closing statement.

Aleynikov's lawyer, Kevin Marino, countered that the case was "bogus" and a "silly prosecution."

Aleynikov is accused of copying large portions of Goldman Sachs' high-frequency code in the days before he left the firm for Teza Technologies last summer. Teza has said it didn't want the code, and Marino contends that Aleynikov only planned to use the open-source—or public—portions of the Goldman code because Goldman's HFT system isn't very good.

"The general common notion that Goldman Sachs is the New York Yankees and Goldman's systems are the best ain't necessarily so," he said.

Prosecutors dismissed the open-source argument as a "distraction."

Jurors began deliberating yesterday, and have already asked to look at the statements Aleynikov made after his June 2009 arrest and at Goldman's confidentiality policies.

Aleynikov faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of theft of trade secrets and transporting stolen property.

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