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HindustanTimes Tue,25 Nov 2014

Indians Abroad

Indian sentenced to 3 yrs in prison for stealing trade secrets
PTI
Boston, March 02, 2011
First Published: 11:54 IST(2/3/2011)
Last Updated: 11:55 IST(2/3/2011)

A 27-year-old Indian, who worked as a trader at Societe Generale (SocGen), has been sentenced to three years in prison for stealing trade secrets at the French investment bank.

Samarth Agrawal was found guilty on November 19, 2010 by a jury of stealing proprietary computer code used in SocGen's high-frequency trading business and of transporting the stolen code.

US District Judge Jed Rakoff ordered Agrawal to serve two years of supervised release following his prison sentence in New York.

Agrawal may be deported to India after his release from prison, Rakoff said.

Agrawal worked at SocGen's New York offices during 2007-2009, first as a quantitative analyst and then as a trader in the bank's High Frequency Trading Group.

In 2009, the bank's surveillance cameras caught Agrawal printing "hundreds of pages" of a computer code, which SocGen had developed, and "stashing the printouts in a backpack".

The bank had spent millions of dollars developing a computer system and the associated computer code that allowed SocGen to engage in sophisticated, high-speed trading on various securities markets.

The code and its associated trading programmes generated millions of dollars in profits for SocGen.

Agrawal planned to use the information to build a copy of SocGen's trading programme at a rival company, the FBI said in a statement.

During a June 2009 meeting with partners of Tower Capital Research, a proprietary trading group and hedge fund, Agrawal claimed he had a complete understanding of SocGen's trading system and that he wanted to build a copy of the same trading system at Tower.

In July 2009, the Tower partners offered Agrawal a job which would have paid him a total of USD 575,000 up front, plus 20 per cent of the profits generated by the copy of SocGen's trading system that he intended to build at Tower.

He repeatedly disclosed confidential details of SocGen's trading system to Tower employees.

Agrawal was arrested on April 19, 2010, the day he was supposed to start work at Tower.

A subsequent search of his apartment revealed the copy of the stolen code, which was neatly organised in folders on his desk.


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