After Six Hours Of Deliberations, Sergey Aleynikov Found Guilty

Tyler Durden's picture

Score one for the farce team. That scourge to market efficiency, fairness and integrity, Sergey Aleynikov, about whom we have written tomes, has been found guilty. The HFT code in question, that can "manipulate markets" is safe and sound, back with its true master, Goldman Sachs, which firm promises its malicious attempt to squeeze CDS traders in 2007 is completely irrelevant, and the sheeple once again don't understand that the firm's intentions were nothing but pristine.

From Reuters:

A jury convicted a former
Goldman Sachs computer programmer on criminal charges of
stealing secret high-frequency trading code from Wall Street's
most influential bank.

Sergey Aleynikov, 40, was indicted in February under the
Economic Espionage Act on accusations he copied and removed
computer code from Goldman in June 2009 before taking a new job
with Teza Technologies LLC, a high-frequency trading start-up

Jurors reached their verdict after a two week-long trial in
U.S. District Court in New York. They deliberated for about six

Aleynikov's lawyer contended that his client may have
breached Goldman's confidentiality policy but he did not harm
and could not harm the firm.

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SilverIsKing's picture

Apparently not a jury of his peers.

ATG's picture

GS purloined Martin Armstrong Princeton Economics code

Unholy Dalliance's picture

Yes - and look what happened to poor Martin.

Rick64's picture

 Everytime I read about Martin Armstrong it disgusts me the way he was treated. Guilty or not 7 yrs. for contempt is fucking crazy.

DaveyJones's picture

all of this presumes a non corrupt third branch 

Ignatius J Reilly's picture

There was a psychological experiment done in the 1950's.  Random, assumably good-hearted people were asked to ask a hidden individual questions.  When the invisible person got the question wrong, the good people were told to press a button to deliver a mild electical shock to the hidden person.  The participant could hear the screams of the hidden person grow as the voltage increased.  The moderator kept prodding the participant to deliver the shock despite any protest.  Those good people always continued to deliver the shocks.


I imagine that those jurors were told stick to the question.  Did this person steal corporate secrets?

The big picture does not matter.

Cursive's picture

The big picture does not matter.

It's not supposed to matter in court, but my sentiments are with you.  This ruling is equally an indictment of Goldman Sachs' "proprietary" trading platform, but no problem for GS since they are the rulers of this country.

VisualCSharp's picture

For those who don't know, Ignatius is referring to the Milgram experiment.

Ignatius J Reilly's picture

Thank you.


My brain working not good.  Might be from too much alcohol or not enough.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Shades of the old USSR show trials conducted with a flourish to show the world how fair and open the USSR was.

The term show trial is a pejorative description of a type of highly public trial. The term was first recorded in the 1930s.[1] There is a strong connotation that the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt of the defendant and that the actual trial has as its only goal to present the accusation and the verdict to the public as an impressive example and as a warning. Show trials tend to be retributive rather than correctional justice.

almost_have_a_name's picture

"Shades of the old USSR"...

Nailed that one.

DaveyJones's picture

kinda the inverse of the Johnny Cash wardrobe, progressively darker   

ATG's picture

If you listen to AG Eric Holder and cronies re Gitmo show trails with guaranteed outcomes, we are already there

Pogo folks, we have met the enemy

Bob's picture

Yeah, the proofs are continuing to cascade into increasingly public awareness. 

It appears to me that wikileaks may have established an effective Maginot Line.

It remains to be seen how this shit ends. 

Biggus Dickus Jr.'s picture

Thanks to zero hedge we already know how these programs work. Anybody can now hire a coder and build their own now. Goldman doesn't have an advantage anymore.

shushup's picture

Unless you are 2 young guys Sweeden(I think). These 2 guys programed a computer to beat the HFT programs. They were arrested and forced to give up all the money they made.

Bob's picture

Yeah, but they squeezed only their local, 1910-era exchange. 

Nassim's picture

Norway and Sweden have been seperate countries since 1905 - I think :=)

Shameful's picture

Building a good one would take a lot of skill and time.  Also need to get co-located so no, not everyone can do this and the big boys still have an advantage.

Racer's picture

They were quick enough to convict someone like him but the true criminals haven't even been arrested for holding the world to ransom!

Shameful's picture

Criminal charges?  Unfucking believable!  Bet the jury was a bunch of idiots that don't know shit about programming or trading.  Sergey rots and GS walks free.  What a miscarriage of justice.

Careless Whisper's picture

jury was dumb. as. a. bag. of. rocks.


TruthInSunshine's picture

Wasn't it pretty well established that this code was pretty rudimentary and awkward, also?

Hey, when are Lloyd BlankFiend and Jamie Diamond being tried?


In other news, half the jurors are losing their homes to foreclosure.

Golden monkey's picture

God's justice is on "risk on". Bread loaf rationing is next for that bunch of goldless SOB.

Bill Lumbergh's picture

At last this nefarious code will be destroyed and no longer used in our free capital markets.


bugs_'s picture

Don't step.  Word to the wise Julian.

Encroaching Darkness's picture

Let's see, we know from previous stories that GS:
(1) Sold securities that it knew would go kaboom;
(2) Lied to its clients about the safety and solidity of those securities;
(3) Took out insurance (AIG) against the failure of those securities.
(4) Gave extremely poor (self-serving) advice to Greece, which promptly cratered.
(5) Front-runs the entire market through HFT, and now:
(6) Will legally screw their own (former) employees if their interests are threatened.
Why does anyone in the whole world still do any kind of business whatever with these criminal charlatans?

DaveyJones's picture

"well that's nitpicking isn't it?" - Nigel Tuffnel

moofph's picture

...i'll have an absolut binary kabuki on the rocks with a splash "smear"nof...what's that bartender?...complementary fried squid with hush puppies?

Steak's picture

Last posting of the playlist today:

the next and final one will be a playlist featuring a producer I have deemed the Artist of 2010

till next week :D

DisparityFlux's picture

Sergey Aleynikov made 3 mistakes.

1) He got greedy.

2) He stole from Goldman Sachs. 

3) He didn't cover his tracks.

4) He didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition.

No wait, he made four mistakes.

TruthInSunshine's picture

#2 on your list is for all it would have taken. It wouldn't be surprising to me if Goldman has enough in their employee files to blackmail anyone who works or has worked for them to do their bidding at any time and place.

Racer's picture

Rather it was simply doing anything GS don't like gets you hung drawn and quartered

cougar_w's picture

Then either sell your soul in advance and take the loot or else do not work for them.

We're all adults here and can make adult decisions.

DaveyJones's picture

but the return on your soul beats just about every commodity...until you factor in eternity 

MachoMan's picture

He made a fifth mistake, at least.  He failed to have enough of a sympathetic position to ensure jury nullification of draconian laws.

In the end, he will be associated with goldman by juries...  as far as juries are concerned, they're all crooks, so who cares if this one goes to jail.  You're also dealing with a defendant making money the jury is never likely to see...  another strike against him.

Rick64's picture

 Are you familiar with the case of Martin Armstrong? Have you ever heard of 7 yrs. for contempt? I ask you because you are a lawyer and wondered what your opinion is concerning this.

MachoMan's picture

You can tell police to fuck off, you cannot tell a judge to fuck off.  If you are ordered to give back items and you no longer have those items in your possession, you need to have a chain of custody and/or sale.  If you cannot prove you sold or otherwise disposed of the items, then you're going to have to come up with a pretty compelling story.

This stuff happens all the time with the ATF...  basically, the last guy in the chain of ownership of a firearm gets blamed for a crime until proven otherwise...  this is why documenting transfer is so important.

Needless to say, the reasonable presumption is that if you're on the up and up, then you ought to have documentation of transfer...

My take is that it was enough money for him to trade for some jail time.  Ask Lee Murray about it (couple years in a moroccan prison to take away the biggest bank heist haul in england's history).  Remember, we're dealing with rational actors here.

Rick64's picture

 Thanks for your evaluation. Good points.

DaveyJones's picture

as others have wondered, nullification only works if they understand the big picture. That takes a little while to figure that out. ANd then there's those pretty interesting motions in limine 

MachoMan's picture

This is the job of his attorneys...  some laws are so harsh that it is virtually impossible to overcome them.  In such an event, it's time to play into sympathies...  in the event the trial court is biased and does not let you present arguments or make statements to the jury in which you are legally entitled, then you appeal...  and make sure you preserve your arguments for appeal and timely file an appeal. 

In the end, he had too much shit stink on him to come out smelling like a rose.  The jury doesn't need to know anything other than he is a thief...  and although he stole from a piece of shit asshole that many would love to remove all of its abilities to function, the jury remained unsympathetic.

I would be very curious as to the jury instructions and closing arguments...  you have to beat it over their fucking heads...

cougar_w's picture

Note to self: Cultivate humility. And maybe resume that annual blood drive thing we had going. You can't be too careful these days.

Bob's picture

You might also want to replicate and indeed even extend your work on your own time.  A coder might look at it as his/her Daily Journal/Code Diary.  And of course you don't take it to work with you.

Then you wouldn't get so completely screwed.  Or at least not so easily and predictably.

MachoMan's picture

work for hire baby.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Somehow I'm reminded of the attorney general guy who lost his senate race to the late mel cranahan, who could not care a figlet about the fact that justice was blind in the US, but had to cover her statues breasts because it might upset some whacko sensibilities.

That was telling.

This is a farce.