Sergey Aleynikov, the former Goldman Sachs vice president who was arrested Friday afternoon on charges of stealing proprietary trading software from his former employer, has been released on $750,000 bail after spending the holiday weekend in jail, but the charges against him are still pending, and a few tidbits from the latest stories about him have us wondering if this new criminal mastermind is actually guilty of anything, or just the victim of a paranoid financial industry and July media doldrums.
• This bugs us: The media seems to be overstressing the fact that Aleynikov is a “Russian immigrant,” stumbling over the pronunciation of his name, etc. This makes us uncomfortable. First of all, dude had dual citizenship. He’s been in America for like twenty years. Second: What do they think this is? Die Hard? It’s 2009! Plus, to affect this attitude — which is exactly the kind of superior attitude Russia expects from us, by the way — when Obama is doing his darndest to make friends over there is just embarrassing. Really, Cold War babies. When will we learn? Just because someone likes high-waisted pants, socks with sandals, and ballroom dancing doesn’t mean they are a criminal.
• When he was arrested at the airport, Aleynikov waived his Miranda rights and spoke to the FBI for at least four hours. This makes him sound cooperative, not very guilty, and terribly unlucky, owing to the fact that a holiday weekend is a terrible time to try to raise money for bail.
• He had a whole new job in Chicago he was heading to, at Teza Technologies, a Chicago-based firm co-founded by a former Citadel trader. He expected to triple his salary this year, which makes the idea that he stole the codes because he needed the money sound off.
• According to his lawyer, his bosses at Goldman knew he was downloading software because he has three small kids and worked from home a lot.
• Matthew Goldstein, the Reuters journalist who broke the story, admitted, “He wouldn’t have been able to do much with [the codes], because you need the infrastructure” of Goldman Sachs to conduct trades using it.
• He only transferred 32 of 1,024 megabits of the software code. Now, we fully admit that we don’t know anything about computers or codes, but that doesn’t really sound like much. It sounds like something that looks like this:
dhajs435;;; bfurafgaerb cfuywrgfyq7384 473wy5t283rfn13et1s43r;;we r2e
What can you even do with that? Once again, we have no idea. But the whole thing is starting to sound to us like Aleynikov could be getting unduly scapegoated, either by a summer-bored media, or so Goldman can send the message to employees that exploiting the weaknesses in their system will not be tolerated.