Ex-SocGen trader sentenced to 3-year jail term

By @ibtimes on

A jailed former Societe Generale trader convicted of theft of speed-trading computer code secrets was sentenced to 36 months in prison on Monday.

Samarth Agrawal, 27, a citizen of India, was convicted in November by a jury of stealing proprietary computer codes used in Societe Generale's high-frequency trading business and of interstate transportation of the stolen code.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff imposed the sentence on Agrawal.

Agrawal's lawyer Ivan Fisher had asked the judge to sentence his client to time served. Agrawal has been jailed since his arrest in April last year.

Fisher was not immediately available for comment.

Federal prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Agrawal to between six years and eight years.

A Manhattan federal court jury took two hours to return a guilty verdict against Agrawal last November at a two-week trial during which he surprisingly admitted on the witness stand that it was wrong for him to have copied the French bank's code.

The jury heard that he planned to use the code to help build a high-frequency trading system at a new job with Tower Research Capital LLC hedge fund last April. FBI agents arrested him on the day he was supposed to start work at Tower.

High-frequency trading, or high-speed automated trading, has become an increasingly important and competitive business, generating millions in profits for banks and brokerages. The computer codes that help firms trade shares in milliseconds are closely guarded secrets.

The case is USA v Agrawal, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 10-417.

(Reporting by Grant McCool and Soyoung Kim; Editing by Gary Hill)

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