Citadel Gets Restraining Order Against Former Employee

Aug 31 2011 | 3:02pm ET

Citadel Investment Group has won an emergency restraining order against a former employee it accuses of stealing its proprietary information.

A Chicago state court judge granted the restraining order against Yihao Ben Pu, an engineer in Citadel's quantitative trading unit until he was fired yesterday. Citadel sued Pu yesterday, accusing him of misappropriating "confidential information and trade secrets" during his year at the firm. The hedge fund said that Pu repeatedly lied to it about his activities and had destroyed evidence.

The restraining order bars Pu from disclosing any of the information he is accused of stealing or from destroying evidence. Pu has denied any wrongdoing and said that his former employer had "overreacted."

Citadel said it became suspicious last week when it detected an "unusually large amount of data and programs associated with [Pu's] user profile." The hedge fund said that Pu used security bypass programs to "transfer massive amounts of highly confidential information relating to the core of Citadel's tactical trading business."

Worse still, Citadel said that Pu had been in contact with Teza Technologies, a firm founded by several Citadel veterans that Citadel has accused of stealing its proprietary systems.

Teza, whose founder, Mikhail Malyshev, has been indicted for perjury for statements he made during Citadel's lawsuit against him, has denied trying to recruit Pu.

"We have stayed a million miles away from every Citadel employee who a recruiter has brought our way precisely because Citadel has vowed to try and destroy our company," a lawyer for Teza, Chris Gair, told The New York Times.

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