SocGen trader goes on trial for HFT code theft

SocGen trader goes on trial for HFT code theft

A former SocGen trader has gone on trial in Manhattan accused of stealing proprietary computer code used in the bank's high-frequency trading (HFT) system.

The trial of Samarth Agrawal follows his arrest by the FBI in April as he was about to start a new job with rival HFT shop Tower Research Capital.

He has been held in custody awaiting trial since his arrest, after being accused of copying reams of proprietary code into Microsoft Word documents and printing off hundreds of pages of data and source code.

In his opening remarks, prosecuting attorney Thomas Brown, likened SocGen's proprietary code to the closely-guarded trade secrets of popular brands like Coca-Cola or KFC, arguing that the bank protected the code the way "KFC guards its recipe for chicken".

Agrawarl, who faces up to ten years in prison if found guilty, denies the charges.

The case is a warm up to another high-profile computer theft trial, which is set to kick off at the end of the month when former Goldman programmer Sergey Aleynikov comes before the court on charges that he stole code in 2009 to take to his new employer, Teza Technologies, a high-frequency trading start-up in Chicago.

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