Finders Keepers: Former Goldman Sachs Trader Refuses to Relinquish Software

Ku refuses to return stolen algorithmic trading software codes he obtained while working at the lender.

A former Goldman Sachs trader, Xe Ku, has recently disobeyed a judge’s order, refusing to return stolen intellectual property he used for profits – the former Cambridge math graduate worked as a quantitative analyst at Goldman Sachs writing trading strategies.

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During his time at Goldman Sachs, Mr. Ku became privy to a number of algorithmic trading and software codes. Upon his departure from the lender, he also worked at Trenchant Trading Systems, ultimately leaving the group in 2014.

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Since then, he had moved to Hong Kong, retaining in his possession the trading codes from both venues despite infringing on intellectual property rights. His initial plan to sell the trading codes in Hong Kong were however foiled, leading to a rare extradition back to the UK where he was jailed.

For his crimes, he is currently serving a four-year jail sentence, with the threat of a longer stay if he does not turn over the algorithmic trading codes to the aforementioned parties. For his part, Mr. Ku has said he has never been in possession of the codes – his computer is no longer in his possession, instead given to his family and was subsequently lost amidst robbery claims.

Despite his proclaimed innocence, James Lewis QC, in tandem with a UK court, asserted: “Mr. Xu has tried to hang on to those secret trading strategies so they are there for him when he is released from prison and returns to China. Mr. Xu was ordered to tell the police where the copies of Trenchant’s trade secrets he made were and to hand those copies back and also to hand over the related computer equipment.”

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