SocGen code thief jailed for three years

SocGen code thief jailed for three years

Former SocGen trader Samarth Agrawal has been sentenced to three years in jail for stealing the bank's high frequency trading code.

Agrawal was found guilty by a jury in a trial in Manhattan in November after admitting the wrongdoing during testimony.

He had been arrested by the FBI in April as he was about to start a new job with rival HFT shop Tower Research Capital, accused of copying reams of proprietary code into Microsoft Word documents and printing off hundreds of pages of data and source code.

US District Judge Jed Rakoff sentenced Agrawal to three years - less than called for under federal guidelines - and two years of supervise release. The judge also warned that upon release Agrawal could be deported to his native India.

Meanwhile, another code thief, ex-Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov, has been returned to custody after being declared a flight risk.

Aleynikov was found guilty in December by a New York jury of stealing propriety code connected to the investment bank's high-frequency trading platform. He has since been on bail pending sentencing later this month.

However, last week District Judge Denise Cote revoked bail because the "government has abiding concerns about the risk of the defendant's flight, in light of new information about the defendant's family circumstances," according to a letter from the US Attorney seen by Bloomberg.

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 03 March, 2011, 14:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Why copy hundreds of pages of code to MS Word instead of just popping it onto a USB stick or emailing it to a one-time email address?

Matt White
Matt White - Finextra - Toronto 03 March, 2011, 15:43Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

The FBI says SocGen had various checks in place to protect the code, including "monitoring its computer systems and restricting electronic transfers outside of its computer systems".

Keith Appleyard
Keith Appleyard - available for hire - Bromley 04 March, 2011, 14:34Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I wonder how stringent SocGen's "restricting electronic transfers outside of its computer systems" could be?

If you can't copy the data down to a USB drive, try e-mailing an innocuous powerpoint presentation to an external accomplice.

If that gets through, then copy the code into a word document, but instead of being dumb enough to print it all off, simply imbed the word document into the powerpoint.

I've yet to see a data leakage scanner that can detect a file imbedded inside another.