Four years ago Mathew Goldstein at Reuters got the first part of this storyright,
…a Russian immigrant living in New Jersey was being held on federal charges of stealing secret computer trading codes from a major New York-based financial institution.
but posed the wrong question:
Did someone try to steal Goldman Sachs’ secret sauce?
based on the premise that those “secret trading codes” were part of Goldman Sachs crown jewels.
The platform is one of the things that gives Goldman an advantage over the competition when it comes to the rapid-fire trading of stocks and commodities. Federal authorities say the platform quickly processes rapid developments in the markets and using secret mathematical formulas, allows the firm to make highly-profitable automated trades.
There was a bit of head scratching at the time by Matt Taibbi and others as to why Goldman Sachs would have reported this alleged theft when it shined a public light on their high-speed trading activity. As if regulators or legislators would shut down high-speed trading if they knew more about it. As if Goldman Sachs was vulnerable.
What was more or less overlooked since then was Sergey Aleynikov who was convicted and sent off to prison. Dismissed as another (and small time) ex-pat Russian financial criminal? Like following the breadcrumbs dropped by “Curveball” instead of Hussein Kamel. Until now.
Michael Lewis, with his skill and talent for narrative, corrects this reporting oversight and through Aleynikov’s story exposes not just more of the Great Vampire Squid but also how much Goldman Sucked at high-speed trading back in 2009. It’s an explosive and head-spinning article. Illuminates much. Leaves room for discussion and new questions after reading for those interested.