A former Goldman Sachs staffer has been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with making nearly half a million dollars by stealing non-public information from the bank's email system and using it to make illegal trades ahead of client mergers.
Yue Han, a former associate in Goldman's compliance department, faces insider trading charges over the accusation that he netted more than $450,000 in illicit profits thanks to information gleaned from emails from and to investment bankers.
In an ironic twist, the SEC says that he gained access to the emails thanks to his work developing surveillance software designed to monitor other employees for potential misconduct such as insider trading.
The SEC's case stems from its own use of data analysis tools which detect suspicious patterns such as improbably successful trading across different securities over time.
Among the acquisitions he is accused of trading ahead of was the high profile fintech deal that saw Envestnet agree to buy Goldman client Yodlee for $560 million.
Joseph Sansone, co-chief, SEC enforcement division’s market abuse unit, says: "We allege that Han’s employer gave him access to confidential information so that he could help the firm detect and deter illegal activity, but he betrayed that trust by using the information for his own profit."
An emergency court order has frozen Han's assets and the accounts he used to place the trades.