Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Goldman Sachs Gets Its Show Trial

After reading yesterday’s post someone might imagine that show trials were invented in Moscow, but of course, that’s not the case. There may be one coming up in New York. There, Sergey Aleynikov was employed by Goldman Sachs as a computer programmer. He then quit his job at Goldman Sachs and went to work for a competitor. Ever since, his former employer has been trying to get him put in jail, with an alarming degree of success.

Aleynikov was actually convicted of “stealing” the computer programs he was working on at Goldman Sachs. That conviction was overturned when a federal court realized the charge never made sense in the first place. You can’t give someone a computer program to work on, then later claim they broke into your computers and stole it.

Now Aleynikov has been indicted again. The original charges were overturned, so new charges had to be fabricated. This time, Aleynikov has been charged with industrial espionage. These charges may ultimately fail for the same reasons that the previous charges failed. There is neither evidence nor allegation that Aleynikov made copies of anything or used any information from Goldman Sachs after he left his job there. In reality, Aleynikov is being prosecuted just for going to work for a competitor. And Goldman Sachs is serving notice that it owns the criminal justice system in New York just as surely as criminal enterprises in Moscow own the criminal justice system there.