MOSCOW, December 18 - RAPSI. A US federal judge dismissed former Goldman Sachs programmer’s claims for indemnification and advancement of legal fees, as well as both his and his former employers’ motions for summary judgment, according to court documents made available to RAPSI.
In his complaint, Aleynikov sought a preliminary injunction mandating the following: indemnification for the legal fees accrued during his successful defense against federal charges relating to his alleged source code theft, an advancement of legal fees for his defense against state charges arising from the same allegations, and an advancement of legal fees for the civil claim seeking the indemnification and advancement.
Aleynikov further moved for summary judgment.
Goldman Sachs opposed the preliminary injunction and moved to dismiss Aleynikov’s complaint, or in the alternative for summary judgment.
In rendering his decision, Judge Kevin McNulty focused on the issue of whether Aleynkov was an “officer” of Goldman Sachs, thus rendering him eligible for the indemnification and advancement of legal fees. Finding that too many questions still remained, and that the record remained “undeveloped,” McNulty held that Aleynikov had failed to meet his burden of convincing the court of the appropriateness of a preliminary injunction.
Furthermore, the court held that too the existence of “genuine issues of material fact” militated against a grant of summary judgment for either of the parties.
On March 18, 2011, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York sentenced programmer Sergei Aleynikov, who was born in Russia but later obtained US citizenship, to just over eight years in prison for stealing and transferring Goldman Sachs' trading system source code. His attorney then appealed the ruling.
The federal appellate court overturned his conviction, finding that his crimes didn’t fall within the scope of the charges that formed the basis of his conviction. The court held specifically that “(a) intangible property such as source code does not constitute stolen ‘goods, ‘wares’ or ‘merchandise’ under the [relevant federal law], and (b) the government had failed to establish that [Goldman Sachs’] high frequency trading system was intended for interstate commerce as required by [relevant federal law].”
He was subsequently charged with similar offenses under New York state law. According to a press release issued by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, Aleynikov “was charged in New York County Criminal Court with Unlawful Use of Secret Scientific Material and Unlawful Duplication of Computer Related Material.”
The programmer now seeks from Goldman Sachs the $2.4 million that he paid to his lawyers. He has argued that, according to the company's charter, it must reimburse managers for legal fees paid during lawsuits concerning actions that they committed during their work at the firm.
He also seeks in advance the legal fees to be paid in a second case that has been opened against him by the New York Attorney's Office. Aleynikov has been charged with the unlawful use of confidential research and wrongfully copying computer data.
According to the US Department of Justice, Aleynikov worked at Goldman Sachs for over two years. He was responsible for developing programs and supporting the bank's trading system.
Prosecutors claim that Aleynikov resigned from Goldman Sachs in 2009 to accept a job at the Chicago-based trading firm Teza, where he would be responsible for creating another high-traffic computer trading program to compete with Goldman Sachs. Aleynikov allegedly took over 3,600 lines of source code from the Goldman Sachs program on his last day with the firm.
He was arrested in August 2009 at an airport in Newark, New Jersey.