Per a recent report, hedge fund and market maker behemoth Citadel is suing two former executives. The individuals identified as Leonard Lancia and Alex Casimo broke off from the company to start a high-frequency trading firm called Portofino Technologies.
According to the lawsuit filed by Citadel Securities, Lancia, former Head of Europe Systematic Market Making for Derivatives, and Casimo, Business Manager for the firm’s Europe team, tried to raise capital for their firm while still working at the hedge fund. Thus, the individuals allegedly breached their agreement with the company as they still have access to proprietary information.
Citadel Securities is one of the world’s largest and most prominent hedge funds; its proprietary products allow it to gain an edge over its competitors. Last year alone, the hedge fund scored over $16 billion in profit while the rest of the market trended to the downside.
Therefore, the company jealously protects its intellectual property. After examining the exact monetary damages for Lancia and Casimo’s alleged actions, the hedge fund seeks potential restitution.
Crypto Execs Stole Trading Secrets From Citadel?
In 2022, Portofino founders, Lancia and Casimo, claimed to have secured around $50 million to launch their crypto trading firm. The crypto firm was launched to provide liquidity for institutions and whales in the nascent sector.
When the executives left the firm, Citadel Securities launched an internal investigation. As a result, they found a pitch deck from Portofino’s fundraising stage.
The pitch was dated “months before the pair announced their intent to leave the firm,” the complaint noted. The investigation found that Casimo and his partner offered information about Citadel’s proprietary trading techniques, including High-Frequency Trading (HFT).
Per the report, the hedge fund, worth over $50 billion, stated the following in the complaint:
(…) engaged in a brazen scheme to steal Citadel Securities’ trade secrets, lie to their Citadel Securities colleagues and raid the ranks of Citadel Securities’ employees.
As of this writing, neither Casimo nor Lancia has replied to the lawsuit or the allegations presented by Citadel Securities.
Cover image from Unsplash, chart from Tradingview