Goldman Sachs breaks silence on alleged code theft

July 14, 2009

David ViniarAfter more than a week of silence, Goldman Sachs finally commented publicly on the alleged theft of computer codes by former programmer Sergey Aleynikov calling losses sustained as a result would be “very, very immaterial.”

Those words were spoken by David Viniar, Goldman’s Chief Financial Officer, in response to a Reuters question during a conference call with reporters to discuss the company’s robust second quarter earnings.

Aleynikov, a former Goldman computer programmer, was arrested on July 3.

“We still have all of the code,” Viniar said. “It is not like the code had been lost to Goldman Sachs. And even if it had been, it is a small piece of our business.”

A federal prosecutor last week during a bail hearing for Aleynikov made it sound as though the code was of vital importance.

“It is something which they had spent millions upon millions of dollars in developing over the past number of years and it’s something which provides them with many millions of dollars of revenue throughout this time,” Joseph Faccipointe said, according to a court transcript.

Viniar said on Tuesday he was limited in what he could say about the story that just last week threatened to overshadow Goldman’s landmark earnings announcement.

“First of all, there’s an ongoing case so I can’t say much,” Viniar said.

(Photo courtesy of

5 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

David Viniar’s statement directly contradicts the representations Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Facciponti made during Aleynikov’s bail hearing. As you remember, Facciponti argued that Aleynikov should be held without bail.

Among other things, Facciponti told Magistrate Judge Kevin N. Fox that the software would cauuse Goldman’s “profit margin [to be] be eroded.” Goldman faced damages in the “millions upon millions of dollars.”

Further, in open court, Facciponti said: “[A]ny dissemination of this program would be a substantial loss to them, a very substantial loss to them.”

What’s the real story? Who is lying? Is Viniar doing damage control? Or did Facciponti commit fraud on the Court when he made the above-quoted representations?


The original charge said that unscrupulous people could manipulate the market with that code.

I have great confidence knowing Goldman Sachs is above reproach and does all of their business with the public good in mind. – - – - – NOT – - – -

Wake up people!!!!!!!!

Posted by Silverback | Report as abusive

It must be stopped as this shows why big companies keep committing frauds and crimes and the public must step us to firms and people such as this and others like, Gain LLP, Gain Securities, and many others. Thank you.


If the U.S. Attorneys had brought in a second year undergraduate computer science student to consult on this, they would know that if a programmer (especially one making 400k a year) were going to steal code, this is not how it would be done — I don’t know how it would be, but certainly not in the way detailed in statements from the U.S. Attorney and the programmer. It appears the prosecutors ignorance was abused, and someone in that position should have the judgement to know when and where to seek appropriate guidance. I don’t think this is reflective of Goldman Sachs but of whatever manager made these claims.

Posted by Programmer | Report as abusive

Goldman needs to incorporate GTB Technologies DLP, blocks snipets of code on all ports, all protocols

Posted by CIO | Report as abusive

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