Judge Seems Unlikely To Toss Case Against Accused Goldman Software Thief

Jun 17 2013 | 2:19pm ET

Sergey Aleynikov's hopes of avoiding a second trial for allegedly stealing Goldman Sachs' high-frequency trading code appear slim after a Friday court hearing.

Aleynikov's lawyer sparred with New York Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zwiebel over the charges against his client, which he said should be thrown out. Kevin Marino asked Zwiebel to throw out statements Aleynikov made to the Federal Bureau of Investigation after his 2009 arrest, as well as the whole case against him.

"Suppress all this evidence and dismiss this indictment as a product of that unlawful arrest," Marino asked, saying the FBI did not have probable cause to arrest Aleynikov. But Zwiebel appeared no more inclined to do so than the federal judge who oversaw Aleynikov's 2010 conviction on similar charges.

Some of Marino's arguments were "not relevant," Zwiebel said. The judge also took umbrage at Marino's suggestion that he did not understand the lawyer's arguments, saying, "If you don't think so, you can take a seat, because I understand what you're saying."

Aleynikov's federal conviction—and the eight-year prison sentence it carried—were thrown out by a federal appeals court last year, after it found that violating Goldman's rules was not the same as violating the law.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office then brought charges, alleging, as the federal prosecutors had, that Aleynikov downloaded parts of Goldman's HFT software on his last day at the bank to bring with him to a new job at Teza Technologies, the controversial firm founded by several former Citadel Investment Group traders. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.

Aleynikov has rejected a no-jail deal in the state case, Marino has said.


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