At a court appearance July 4 in Manhattan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Facciponti told a federal judge that Aleynikov’s alleged theft poses a risk to U.S. markets. Aleynikov transferred the Goldman code, which is worth millions of dollars, to a computer server in Germany, and others may have had access to it, Facciponti said, adding that New York-based Goldman Sachs may be harmed if the software is disseminated.
"The bank has raised the possibility that there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways," Facciponti said, according to a recording of the hearing made public today. "The copy in Germany is still out there, and we at this time do not know who else has access to it."
The prosecutor added, "Once it is out there, anybody will be able to use this, and their market share will be adversely affected."
“Someone stealing that code is basically stealing the way that Goldman Sachs makes money in the equity marketplace,” said Larry Tabb, founder of TABB Group, a financial-market research and advisory firm. “The more sophisticated market makers -- and Goldman is one of them -- spend significant amounts of money developing software that’s extremely fast and can analyze different execution strategies so they can be the first one to make a decision.”
Someone could use the code "to implement the same strategies and maybe on certain stocks they can be faster and, in effect, take away money that would normally be Goldman’s,” Tabb said today in a phone interview. “The second thing that they can do is actually analyze the code so that they know what Goldman’s going to do before Goldman does it and kind of reverse engineer Goldman’s strategies and make money basically at the expense of Goldman."