Goldman Sachs may have to scrap million-dollar trading code

New York – Goldman Sachs may be forced to write off a valuable computer trading code, following the arrest of an ex-employee for theft.

Sergey Aleynikov, a former programmer for the company, was arrested on Friday. He is accused of improperly copying the codes used to drive trading systems and uploading the information to a file-sharing site. The site is believed to be registered in London but hosted in Germany.

The code is designed to capture and analyse information about changes in market conditions, and is highly commercially sensitive, generating millions of dollars of profit per year. “Once it is out there, anybody will be able to use this, and their market share will be adversely affected,” prosecutor Assistant US Attorney Joseph Facciponti told a federal judge.

Aleynikov is accused of downloading the code through machines at work and at home. Goldman Sachs became suspicious after being alerted by an automatic monitoring system that scans email messages for code and flags attempts to upload files to external servers.

Aleynikov apparently earned $400,000 per year at Goldman Sachs, but hoped to triple that at a Chicago start-up by engaging in high-volume automated trading, prosecutors said.

He was released yesterday after posting $750,000 bail.