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Violating Goldman Sachs Policies Now Neither Federal Nor State Crime

Sergey Aleynikov is now 2-for-2.
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Leaving the courthouse. Probably not for the last time.

Sergey Aleynikov, the Teflon Man, is dancing once again, after the judge in his second trial for making Lloyd Blankfein angry decided that’s still not illegal, proving that juries can be and usually are wrong about this kind of thing, whether sandwiches are tampered with or not. Of course, the matter may still be far from over: There’s the small issue of Sergey wanting some kind of compensation for the last six years, and whether Goldman Sachs’ board will direct its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Manhattan D.A.’s office, to appeal the decision on principle, even though D.A. Cy Vance already promised not to send Sergey back to prison. Or, of course, if Sergey happens to find himself on one of Goldman's secret prison islands or in any place where the bank enjoys extraterritorial status.

In the state case, the judge took the uncommon step of reserving his right to set aside the jury’s guilty verdict, delivered in May. Defense attorneys had asked him to dismiss it, arguing there was no evidence Aleynikov made a “tangible” reproduction of the code or benefited from having it, both requirements under New York law.

Justice Daniel Conviser agreed, adding that prosecutors also didn’t prove Aleynikov intended to steal “secret scientific material,” another prerequisite for conviction.

“The issues in this case have never been easy,” Conviser wrote. “We update our criminal law in this country, however, through the legislative process. Defendants cannot be convicted of crimes because we believe as a matter of policy that their conduct warrants prosecution.”

So, until Congress or the New York State Legislature get around to declaring Goldman Sachs a secretive scientific organization, you’re free to copy all of the code you want, provided you don’t print it out or do anything profitable with it. In New York, that is.

A London hedge fund analyst who admitted to accessing and copying “extremely valuable” computer code used in trading algorithms has been sentenced to four years in prison for fraud….

In August, he resigned from Trenchant, leaving a note on his manager’s keyboard explaining that he wanted to join his new wife, who worked in Hong Kong, and be closer to his ill father. He did not mention the new job. Before he left, he deleted about 150,000 documents, and he was seen on the company’s CCTV removing a suitcase from the building.

‘Flash Boys’ Programmer in Goldman Case Prevails Second Time [Bloomberg]
N.Y. judge tosses conviction of ex-Goldman programmer Aleynikov [Reuters]
Conviction of Former Goldman Sachs Programmer Is Overturned [DealBook]
Hedge fund worker jailed for copying code [FT]


By Chris Potter (Flickr: 3D Judges Gavel) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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