Former Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov was on Friday sentenced to eight years imprisonment for stealing the investment bank’s “proprietary" computer code.
A jury found Aleynikov guilty in December last year, despite his lawyer’s contention that the code in question was “open source” and therefore could not be stolen.
Aleynikov had maintained Goldmand Sach’s high-frequency trading platform for two years until June 2009. He had uploaded its code to a server in Germany after accepting a role at a newly-formed company, Teza Technologies.
Teza had asked Aleynikov to build a high-frequency trading system.
Goldman Sachs inherited its trading platform in 1999 after it acquired the Hull Trading Company for $500 million.
While US District Judge Denise Cote gave Aleynikov just over half the 15 year jail sentence he could have faced, prosecutors said it was a sign that proprietary information was “critically important”.
“Today’s sentence sends a clear message that professionals like Sergey Aleynikov who abuse their positions of trust to steal confidential business information from their employers will be prosecuted and punished,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.