Friday, July 8, 2011

FBI: Employee Passed Chicago Mercantile Exchange Secrets to China

Via -

A 10 year employee of CME Group in Chicago is alleged to have stolen trade secrets and proprietary source code used to run trading systems for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Illinois.

The complaint, dated June 30, 2011 and signed by FBI Special Agent Joanne Cullinan, alleges that Chunlai Yang, 49, downloaded "thousands of files" containing "source code and proprietary algorithms" used by CME to run its trading systems. The files were downloaded from a company-owned source code repository maintained by CME to Yang's work computer, then copied them to removable "thumb" drives. The complaint also cites personal e-mail correspondence between Yang and an official in China that contained proprietary CME information.


Yang was born and educated in China, but received his Ph.D in physics in the U.S and is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He had been working at CME since 2000.


Forensic analysis of his hard drive and active monitoring of his activities suggests that Yang was perusing CME's ClearCase source code repository for sensitive documents, then offloading them to portable media. The evidence against him includes screen captures showing Yang in the act of copying source code files to removable drives from his laptop.

Evidence presented in the complaint, including e-mail messages, suggest that Yang was preparing to leave CME and set up a new company, East China Technology Innovation Park Co. Ltd." in mainland China, with Yang and two other individuals listed as sole directors and shareholders. The purpose of the company, according to e-mail messages obtained by CME, was to increase the trading volume at the Zhangjiagang chemical electronic trading market and build a futures exchange using software provided by Yang's new company.

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