Two traders charged with stealing software code to start new business

Two men have been charged with stealing software code from a high frequency trading firm in order to start their own business.

Glen Cressman and Jason Vuu, both former employees of Dutch firm Flow Traders, were found to have emailed electronic trading software to themselves from their work accounts, according to reports from Bloomberg. The emails, sent between August 2011 and August 2012, are said to have contained trading strategies and valuation algorithms.

In a complaint at the Supreme Court in Manhattan, Vuu is accused of sharing the software code with a third man, who was not an employee of Flow Traders, with the intent of using the information to set up their own business.

A defence lawyer for Vuu has claimed that the algorithms were not used in a “malicious way”, and Flow Traders has not lost any revenues as a result.

The case is another indication that US authorities are taking a tough line on corporate espionage relating to high frequency trading.

In a separate case relating to the theft of proprietary code used in trading algorithms, US authorities earlier this month upheld the conviction of Samarth Agrawal, who is currently serving three years in prison for stealing code from French bank Societe Generale.

The US Circuit Court of Appeals refused to change their ruling after the same court had agreed to overturn another case of theft, concerning Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov.

The court rejected claims that Societe Generale employee Agrawal’s theft did not qualify as a crime under the federal laws he was orginally charged with, according to Reuters. Agrawal’s lawyers were said to have compared the case with Aleynikov's.

While at Goldman Sachs, Aleynikov was a high-level IT developer and had the title of vice president. He had been accused of copying long lines of algorithmic code used in Goldman Sachs’ high frequency trading platform, and uploading them to a server in Germany. He was accused of attempting to take 32 megabytes of code to a new employer, Teza Technologies.

Aleynikov had been in prison for 11 months of his eight year prison sentence when the court removed his conviction in February 2012.


Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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