Menu
US judge dimisses second conviction of ex-Goldman Sachs coder

US judge dimisses second conviction of ex-Goldman Sachs coder

Sergey Aleynikov improperly copied code but did not violate the law he was charged with

A former Goldman Sachs programmer saw his second criminal conviction dismissed on Monday in a long-fought, technically challenging legal battle that centered on 32MB of copied code.

The dismissal marks a significant victory for Sergey Aleynikov, who was a highly paid programmer for Goldman's high-frequency trading operation, designing complex code to make split-second trades.

Aleynikov won an appeal against federal charges in April 2012, but prosecutors refiled new charges against him under New York state laws different than the federal acts he was previously accused of violating.

In May, he was convicted by a jury of one count of Unlawful Use Of Secret Scientific Material, a rarely-used statute enacted in 1967. The jury did not reach a verdict on a similar count and dismissed another count of unlawful duplication.

On Monday, Judge Daniel P. Conviser of New York's State Supreme Court dismissed the count Aleynikov was convicted of by the jury.

Conviser wrote in his ruling that Aleynikov acted wrongfully by taking the code, but his actions did not meet the standard under the law in which he was charged.

"The evidence did not prove he intended to appropriate all or a major portion of the codes economic value," Conviser wrote.

Aleynikov's lawyer, Kevin Marino, said via email that the judge's decision is a defeat for Goldman, which "is powerful enough to provoke two failed criminal prosecutions to settle a private score."

Aleynikov put his faith in the court system and "it has been rewarded," Marino wrote. Goldman will be pursued in court to pay Aleynikov's legal fees, he said.

In the first criminal case against him, federal prosecutors alleged he uploaded proprietary code for the company's high-frequency trading (HFT) system to a computer server in Germany on his last work day at Goldman on June 5, 2009.

Aleynikov was due to start a new job at a Teza Technologies in Chicago, which had recently hired him. He long maintained that he copied the code for intellectual pursuits rather than profit, and maintained it was open-source code.

He was convicted of violating the National Stolen Property Act (NSPA) and the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) after a jury trial in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and sentenced to 97 months in prison.

But in April 2012, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals found those acts did not actually apply to Aleynikov's actions and set him free.

New York state prosecutors then took up his case, charging him in August 2013 under different laws but for the same actions, avoiding a conflict with the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment protection against being tried twice for the same crime.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags legalintellectual propertygoldman sachsCriminal

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments