Ke Xu is trying to be deported to make his fortune in China
This is the ‘Billion Dollar Brain’ investment genius who is trying to be deported so he can make his fortune in China, after he memorised trade secrets worth £31million.
Ke Xu, 33, was locked up for hacking into the computers at the London hedge fund he worked for, Trenchant, and stealing its money-making algorithms.
Trenchant are now fighting to keep their former employee in the country to stop him taking the algorithms, used to programme trading strategies into computers, to rival firms in the Far East.
They are willing to pay the 33-year-old up to £48,000 a year to live in the UK until the sequences, said to be stored ‘in his head’, become redundant in August 2018.
The company’s lawyers have urged Home Office officials to postpone deportation proceedings against Xu, who was jailed for four years after hacking into computer systems and accessing intellectual property worth millions of dollars on the stock market in 2014.
The Cambridge maths graduate – who was jailed for a further 18 months in January after refusing to return the codes – is using human rights laws to oppose the plan, claiming the financial tech firm wants to keep him trapped and under surveillance in a ‘gilded cage’.
He earned £485,000 including bonuses from Trenchant in 2013, but became disillusioned, believing he should have been paid more than £1 million.
Sin city: Ke Xu was locked up for hacking into the computers at the London hedge fund he worked for
Xu had stolen the codes by the time he abruptly resigned in August 2014 and flew to Hong Kong to tout himself to headhunters in the financial sector – but he was arrested and extradited to the UK in December 2014.
The former Goldman Sachs analyst claims his parents dumped his computers in the Yangtze River to stop him getting in any more trouble after he was jailed in 2015.
Xu told jurors the computers they didn’t dump were given to his two cousins – he claims one has since died and had a laptop cremated with him, while the other hardware was stolen in a burglary.
His defence barrister Tom Wainwright said: ‘Physical copies have gone, but I accept it is still in his head.’
Judge David Tomlinson, who must decide whether Xu can leave the UK when he leaves prison on licence, observed: ‘And possibly also in the heads of others.’