A former DRW Holdings LLC trader and research analyst was accused in a lawsuit of stealing proprietary computer code used in the firm’s quantitative strategies.
(Bloomberg) — A former DRW Holdings LLC trader and research analyst was accused in a lawsuit of stealing proprietary computer code used in the firm’s quantitative strategies.
Avi Mahajan was sued in federal court in New York on Tuesday by an entity controlled by DRW’s lead quantitative researcher, David Sweet. According to the suit, Sweet was hired by DRW after he pitched the firm on his Cogneato software, and his employment agreement allowed him to retain ownership of it.
Sweet claims Mahajan, who was hired at DRW as a quantitative analyst in 2018, copied portions of the Cogneato code to a remote site in May and then lied when confronted about it in July. According to the suit, Mahajan was fired from DRW over the incident and escorted from the firm’s New York offices on July 24.
Mahajan didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment through his LinkedIn page. DRW declined to comment on the suit.
Sweet is asking the court to block Mahajan from disclosing, using or possessing the code he allegedly copied as well as any derivative work. The suit is also seeking compensatory damages of more than $2.5 million.
DRW, a Chicago-based proprietary trading firm founded by Don Wilson in 1992, is known for its derivatives trading. It was also one of the early Wall Street entrants in cryptocurrency markets, and its Cumberland division is now one of the largest crypto traders.
The suit is the latest to highlight the high stakes in control of Wall Street trading code. Last week, market-making firm Virtu Financial Inc. sued to block its former client technology head from moving to prime broker Clear Street LLC, which Virtu said was aiming to compete in the market for execution services.
Read More: Virtu Sues to Block Tech Executive’s Move to Clear Street
The case is Vanderdonk LLC v Mahajan, 23-cv-7853, US District Court, Southern District of New York.
(Updates with DRW declining to comment.)
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