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Futures exchange programmer freed on bail

Chunlai Yang to plead his innocence

The FBI has released on bail a former programmer at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange who was last week arrested and charged with stealing proprietary source code.

Chunlai Yang, 49, is accused of planning to steal proprietary software from the CME - one of the world's largest futures exchanges - to sell to a Chinese start-up that he ran.

His lawyer, Christopher Graul, has said that Yang will plead not guilty to the charges.

Yang put his suburban Chicago house as security on his $500,000 (£313,300) bail bond in order to be released, according to the Financial Times. He has been ordered to be detained at home with electric monitoring.

If found guilty of the charges, Yang faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 (£156,000) fine.

A naturalised American born in China, Yang joined CME eleven years ago. The exchange began to monitor his computer activity after he allegedly began transferring thousands of files, some onto USB memory sticks.

Yang was emailing three individuals in China, sometimes with valuable source code, according to prosecutors. One of his contacts worked for the Zhangiagang Free Trade Zone. Two worked with Yang to run the East China Technology Innovation Park Company, a firm that allegedly planned to establish a futures exchange in China that would sell trading software.

After a court hearing on 6 July, the FBI said in a statement: "Many of the downloaded files were critical to the operation of the CME Group and are considered proprietary in nature and contain protected source code.

"If the source code were to be released to competitors, clients or anyone else in the financial industry, it could cause great economic damage."

CME Group insisted that it had "found no evidence that customer information, trading data or required regulatory information was compromised".


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