Just before Easter weekend, FBI agents made the first moves in what loyal fans of former Goldman programmer Sergey Aleynikov's multi-trial saga will recognize as a familiar story: Boy takes code, FBI arrests boy, endless legal mishaps ensue. Except this version doesn't quite have the star power and gravitas of the last:
Dmitry Sazonov, 44, who worked for Susquehanna International Group for 13 years as a software engineer, was arrested in the lobby of Susquehanna’s New York offices on Wednesday by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the criminal complaint, Sazonov tried to steal source code linked to an updated trading platform Susquehanna has been developing for years to generate exchange and market orders. Sazonov started his effort to steal the proprietary trading code in February, the complaint says, after learning his supervisor had resigned.
Instead of the esteemed Goldman Sachs we get Susquehanna, heretofore known best for making all its employees play poker. Instead of grappling with code that prosecutors once warned could be used to “manipulate markets in unfair ways” if it fell into the wrong hands, we get some lines from a “trading platform Susquehanna has been developing for years to generate exchange and market orders.” Instead of Sergey Aleynikov we get Dmitry Sazonov.
Whatever the surface differences, we know where this goes from here. Sazonov will be indicted and convicted to years in prison for his alleged crimes. A couple years later he'll win an appeal on the grounds that the stuff he took wasn't actually literally tangible in the sense that you can't throw it at someone's head. Soon afterward the cruel fates and/or state prosecutors will decide they're not done ruining Sazonov's life and put him back through the legal ringer in a case that will nearly be derailed by accusations of sandwich tampering amongst jurors but eventually will deliver a guilty verdict. A judge will subsequently dismiss that verdict before another appeals reinstates it, at which point Susquehanna will have begun giving away gratis the stuff that Sazonov was originally accused of illegally pilfering.
It's a tale as old as time.