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A Goldman trading scandal?

Wow, interesting, h/t to Econompic. Goldman Sach's secrets

A Goldman trading scandal?

Posted by: Matthew Goldstein on Reuters Blogs.

Did someone try to steal Goldman Sachs’ secret sauce?

While most in the US were celebrating the 4th of July, a Russian immigrant living in New Jersey was being held on federal charges of stealing top-secret computer trading codes from a major New York-based financial institution—that sources say is none other than Goldman Sachs.

The allegations, if true, are big news because the codes the accused man, Sergey Aleynikov, tried to steal is the secret code to unlocking Goldman’s automated stocks and commodities trading businesses. Federal authorities allege the computer codes and related-trading files that Aleynikov uploaded to a German-based website help this major “financial institution” generate millions of dollars in profits each year.

The platform is one of the things that apparently gives Goldman a leg-up over the competition when it comes to rapid-fire trading of stocks and commodities. Federal authorities say the platform quickly processes rapid developments in the markets and uses top secret mathematical formulas to allow the firm to make highly-profitable automated trades.

The criminal case has the potential to shed a light on the inner workings of an important profit center for Goldman and other Wall Street firms. The federal charges also raise serious questions about the safeguards Wall Street firms deploy to protect their proprietary trading systems.

The criminal case began to unfold on the evening of July 3 when Aleynikov was arrested by FBI agents at Newark Liberty Airport, after returning from Chicago. Aleynikov had just started a job with another firm in Chicago, after leaving the big firm in NY in early June. It appears the financial institution allegedly victimized by Aleynikov had alerted federal authorities that its former employee might be up to no good.

On July 4, Aleynikov was processed on a “theft of trade secrets” charge in a criminal complaint that was filed in federal court in Manhattan. As of this afternoon, he was still being held in federal custody pending posting of bail…

The bio information for Aleynikov on LinkedIn says he joined Goldman in May 2007 and was vice president for equity strategy. The bio says he was responsible for “development of a distributed real-time co-located high-frequency trading platform.” In his own words, he goes on to describe the platform as “a very low latency (microseconds) event-driven market data processing, strategy and order submission engine.”

The case against Aleynikov may explain why the New York Stock Exchange moved quickly in the past week to stop reporting program stock trading for its most active firms. Goldman often was at the top of the chart–far ahead of its competitors…

And now Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge has come in with his own excellent analysis of this strange, strange criminal case. I highly recommend reading it.

It’s possible Goldman asked the NYSE to stop reporting the number after it discovered that someone may have infiltrated the proprietary computer codes it uses.

Here’s the way the criminal complaint describes the Goldman trading platform:

The Financial Institution has devoted substantial resources to developing and maintaining a computer platform that allows the Financial Institution to engage in sophisticated high-speed, and high-volume trades on various stock and commodities markets. Among other things, the platform is capable of quickly obtaining and processing information regarding rapid developments in these markets….

Full article here.

 

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