Goldman programmer found guilty of stealing bank's high-frequency trading code

Sergey AleynikovReutersSergey Aleynikov waits in Manhattan Criminal Court on August 9, 2012.

Ex-Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov was found guilty by a jury on Friday of stealing the bank’s high-frequency trading code.

This is Aleynikov’s second conviction, after his first one in federal court on similar charges was overturned. This criminal case, in New York state court, was again marked by plenty of courtroom drama and weirdness, including a bizarre dispute between two jurors over an allegedly poisoned avocado sandwich.

Jurors convicted Aleynikov on one count of code theft, deadlocked on another similar count, and found him not guilty of a third count.

The latest chapter in the saga marks yet another twist in the winding tale of the programmer and the investment bank — they have spent almost a decade embroiled in legal battle. Aleynikov’s case was highlighted in “Flash Boys,” the latest bestseller by Michael Lewis.

Aleynikov was first arrested in 2009 and convicted the following year of stealing code from Goldman Sachs to take to Teza Technologies, which recruited him away from his $US400,000-a-year job at the bank. Like most investment banks and hedge funds, Goldman relies on proprietary code as part of its complex trading technology.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison, but only spent 11 months in jail before his conviction was overturned in 2012, without explanation.

Then, in 2014, it was announced that Aleynikov would go back on trial in state court.

Goldman Sachs did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

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