Former Societe Generale trader accused of stealing computer code

Ex-employee allegedly stole proprietary code from bank's high-frequency trading system.

A former trader at Societe Generale was arrested Monday on charges of stealing proprietary code used in the bank's high-frequency trading system.

Federal prosecutors in New York charged Samarth Agrawal, 26, who worked in Societe Generale's New York office, with theft of trade secrets. Last June, two months after he was promoted to the position of trader in the company's high frequency trading group, Agrawal allegedly copied code from the proprietary trading system into Microsoft Word documents.

Prosecutors said surveillance cameras captured him putting what appeared to be printouts of the code into a backpack. In August and September, he allegedly printed out another portion of code, this time code that he was not authorized to view. Before resigning in November, he deleted a folder on his personal network drive that contained the trading platform code in its original format and in the Word documents, authorities said.

When he resigned, Agrawal told a supervisor that he eventually wanted to return to his native India and set up his own high-frequency trading firm, prosecutors said. But he allegedly told an undercover FBI agent that he was interviewing with big name financial firms in New York.

If convicted, Agrawal faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Last July, FBI agents arrested Sergey Aleynikov on charges of copying and uploading code from the proprietary high-volume trading system belonging to the financial institution he worked for to a server in Germany. Numerous media outlets identified the institution as Goldman Sachs.

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