Draw your own conclusions about the distance between Goldman Sachs and the US government
The prosecution wanted to the judge to deny bail, a la Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford, because the stolen code “could be use to manipulate the market in unfair ways.” The judge, to his credit chose to disagree. This was an alleged crime against GOLDMAN, not, presumably a crime against society. Therefore it was a “garden variety” economic crime, meaning that the normal niceties of “free on bail” were available.
Apologies for getting to this late — I’m on deadline on something else and haven’t had much time to post — but this just has to be posted, given the continued debate over Goldman Sachs. Surely plenty of people followed the story last week of Sergey Aleynikov, a Russian computer whiz who, well, defected from the employ of Goldman Sachs, apparently taking with him the bank’s proprietary trading code. There is a lot of backstory here that is key: if you’ve followed Zero Hedge’s speculations dating back months about Goldman somehow manipulating program trading at the NYSE, this is connected to that, as the theory here is that Aleynikov stole the computer program that Goldman may have been using to manipulate the NYSE.
Such speculations until recently may have sounded like conspiracy theories, but then last week Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Facciponti stood up in court and let loose a whopper. “The bank has raised the possibility that there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways,” he said.
Again, this is a federal prosecutor quoting Goldman Sachs, admitting in open court that it has been using a computer program that can be used to unfairly manipulate markets. Take that information and couple it with the insane data about Goldman’s share of program trading volume since the beginning of the year and… well, you can draw your own conclusions.
While I’m here: a lot of people have been writing me asking me to respond to Megan McArdle’s bizarre freakout on the Atlantic website, where she lambasted my Goldman piece in curiously discombobulated fashion and then apparently spent the next couple of days jamming her feet in her mouth in the comments section (Megan at 6:52 P.M. on July 10: “No, his facts are wrong, his conclusions are wrong, and only his discomfort with Goldman Sachs’ role in our public life is correct.” Megan three hours later: “Or perhaps a better way to say it is that the facts are right, but the mini narratives are ludicrously wrong.”). I’m reluctant to get into this, among other things because I’ve already done two different too-long responses to critics of this piece, and I’m also supposed to be writing something else right now, so… But I will get to her later in the week, when I have time, and I’m going to need time, just going by one quick read-through of her piece.
One more side note: I’m working on something right now and as part of that I’m looking to interview anyone who is an employee of the state of New Jersey and holds a New Jersey state pension. Anyone out there knows anyone like that, please let me know.