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7/7/2009
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Goldman's Alleged Code Thief Makes Bail

Programmer Sergey Aleynikov is under travel and computer use restrictions while awaiting trial.

A Russian-born computer programmer who's accused of stealing sensitive trading code from investment firm Goldman Sachs has been released on $750,000 bail with tight restrictions.

While awaiting trial on charges of fraud and theft of trade secrets, Sergey Aleynikov is not allowed to access any of the data he allegedly stole. He's also barred from traveling beyond the New York City metro area, court records reviewed by InformationWeek indicate.

Authorities will also monitor Aleynikov's computer use while he is free on bail.

Aleynikov, according to a criminal complaint filed last week by the U.S. Attorney's office in New York, "copied, without authorization, proprietary computer code belonging to a financial institution in the United States and then uploaded the code to a computer server in Germany."

The complaint does not mention the name of the financial services company allegedly victimized by Aleynikov, but numerous reports have pegged it as Goldman Sachs. Goldman has yet to comment publicly on the incident.

The code in question is said to be part of a computer program used to execute trades at the best possible prices.

"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," according to the complaint against Aleynikov.

The programmer joined Goldman Sachs in May, 2007, and was paid an annual salary of $400,000, according to records.

He was apprehended after Goldman Sachs noticed large amounts of data being uploaded from its servers via HTTPS transfers. The uploads, 32 MB in total, were ultimately traced to Aleynikov's workstation, the complaint states.

Prosecutors allege that Aleynikov carried out the theft between June 1 and July 3.

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