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Ex-Citadel Employee Accused of Stealing Proprietary Strategies Hires Attorney Carolyn Gurland

According to the Wall Street Journal, former Citadel employee Yihao “Ben” Pu was released Friday on a $25,000 cash bond on the condition he surrender his passport and allow his computer use to be monitored. Pu, who was charged with attempting to steal Citadel’s proprietary trading system, hired Carolyn Gurland, the prominent attorney, to represent him. She is known for her representation of former media mogul Conrad Black, ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and singer R. Kelly. In a statement issued Friday, Gurland said that Pu had not decided yet whether to contest the charges. “We are evaluating all of the options,” she said.


Citadel’s Allegations Against Pu

Citadel’s complaint affidavit was released Thursday, it explained that Pu had taken a job with the company in May 2010. He had been hired to work on the hedge fund’s automated trading strategies, refining the system and correcting any bugs. On August 25, Citadel’s tech department noticed an unusually large amount of data on Pu’s personal account. According to the affidavit, Pu had been running two virtual computers under his Citadel profile. This was how he was able to by-step company security and download the data. Pu said he was downloading his personal files. The next day, the firm asked that Pu retain all the data he had downloaded for its review. Pu and an accomplice erased the data from the hard drives and dumped the hardware. Pu kept one hard drive, which he has since turned over to his attorney, Ms. Gurland.

Pu’s Recovered Drives Contained Parts of Citadel’s Strategies

Divers recovered the hard drives Pu dumped. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The discarded equipment was recovered by a diver and found to contain ‘alphas,’ or building blocks of Citadel’s automated electronic trading algorithms and strategies, the complaint said. Investigators also found a website appearing to detail a plan by Mr. Pu to use obtained ‘execution data’ to launch a hedge fund in China, according to the complaint.” The recovered drives also appear to have snippets of source code from one of Pu’s previous employers.

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